Southern Plantation Dressing
A Civil War Era Stuffing Recipe
Emeril Lagasse and "Good Morning America" sent out the call to find the best stuffing in the country, and hundreds sent their recipes -- but only one could win.
Runner-up was a recipe submitted by Aylette Roper of Little Rock, Ark.: This recipe has been in my family since before the Civil War and has been served every single holiday without any variance on the original recipe. Coming up with measurements was difficult due to the fact that the recipe has been hand taught through every generation.
My grandmother taught me how to make it. My great-grandmother was raised on Twin Oaks Plantation in Leland, Miss., and her mother taught it to her, and so on. We know for a fact that this recipe is more than 150 years old. Over the years, every single person I have ever served it to raved that it was the best they ever had and requested the recipe. It wouldn't be a holiday in our family without it.
It has very few ingredients, but my grandmother sticks to the motto, "Sometimes simpler is better." When making this dish, you are going to think the amount of onions, celery, salt and pepper is way too much. Don't worry, it mixes in eventually and ends up delicious every time.
Mix white bread and cornbread together into a bowl and set aside.
Melt butter and add all onions and celery. Sauté until they have released all their liquids and are translucent.
Mix onion-celery mixture into bread mixture. Add at least 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Slowly start adding in chicken broth. Gradually add broth, continually blending until the mixture has absorbed all the liquid it can without extra liquid in the bowl. You'll know when mixture is saturated when you press a spoon against botton of bowl and the broth barely seeps out.
Keep adding salt and pepper until adequetely seasoned.
Optional: Depending on who you're serving, mix in 1 pint drained, shucked oysters.
Put in large baking dish and bake at 350° for 30 minutes covered with foil. Finish uncovered for another 20 minutes or until browned and the center is firm.