Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Mainly because it involves a lot of things I love…food, family/friends and football! Having lived in California for seven Thanksgivings, it’s actually been a holiday that I’ve spent more with friends than family over the past decade, and this will make the fourth Turkey Day in a row that I’ve spent it in another country.
Last year, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal (my first) for eleven by myself. It helped that I didn’t have to work at the time, because despite all my list making, I still ended up at various grocery stores seven times during a three day period. It was a lot of fun sharing the holiday, and my Southern Thanksgiving dishes, with my British friends. Last year actually involved two Turkey Day’s, as I left the day after Turkey Day on a weekend trip to the Cotswolds for an expat Thanksgiving part two.
This year, I spent Thanksgiving with college friends Sarah & Rob and some of their visiting relatives. In keeping with tradition, I made my maternal grandmother G-mama’s cornbread dressing and giblet gravy and one of my Turkey Day faves, a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart.
Cornbread dressing is something G-mama taught me to make when I was around 14 and we made it together for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I make it every year now in her memory. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!
2 cups cornmeal (this year I used Hoover’s Mill, a white cornmeal found in South Georgia; if you’re in London you can find cornmeal at Patridge’s or best bet is some of the local shops around Brixton Village & Market!)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
3 TBSP melted butter
1 tsp soda
Beat eggs until light. Add other liquid ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into liquids and mix together well. Add more milk if too stiff (it will be a thickish mix). Spoon into well greased muffin tins*. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for 25-30 minutes. Turn sideways in tin to cool once out of the oven.
*You can use a well greased cast iron skillet and it’s just as tasty!
6 cups cornbread, crumbled
4 1/2 cups dried/lightly toasted white bread, crumbled
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt (if needed)
8 cups of stock
1 TBSP sage or poultry seasoning
1 cup celery, chopped*
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter (56.7g)
Boil turkey necks in a large pot until tender for stock. In a sauce pan, sauté onion and celery in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter until very soft. In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread and dry bread crumbs. Add pepper and sage. Add celery and onions. Add in stock. Taste to see if the salt is needed. Add egg and mix well. Bake in a cast iron skillet** or 9×13-inch greased pan for 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).
*G-mama and I may be the only people on earth who do this, but we de-string the celery and peel it before chopping (feel free to take or leave this step)
**This recipe halves very well and if you’re making the full recipe, you’ll need two cast iron skillets or two 9×13 pans