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Every Thanksgiving, Mom allowed Dad into the kitchen to make his cornbread dressing. I think it's the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. I've made a few changes to his recipe for a wonderful slow-cooker version. Just by adding chicken, it's a dinner that works for anytime of the year.
Slow-Cooker Chicken and Cornbread Dressing
1 recipe cornbread (see below)
10 slices dry white bread, cut into cubes
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
5 boneless chicken breasts
The day before, prepare the cornbread (see below). Turn off the oven and let it cool. Place the slices of bread and the cornbread on cookie sheets. When the oven is barely warm, place the bread and cornbread in the oven and leave overnight so they will dry out. Make sure the oven is off.
The next day, melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium skillet. Saute onion and celery until soft. Meanwhile, crumble cornbread in a large slow-cooker. Cut the dried bread in into cubes and add to cornbread. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the sautéed onion and celery. Mix well.
In large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and 3 cups chicken broth. Add to slow-cooker and mix well. Add enough remaining chicken broth until all the bread and cornbread is quite moist.
Place the chicken breasts on top of the dressing and push down so that they are completely covered. Place lid on slow-cooker, and cook on low 5 to 6 hours until dressing is brown and chicken is done. Stir the dressing and break chicken into pieces.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in egg and milk. Pour 1/4 cup oil into 8 or 9-inch cast iron skillet. Place in preheating oven until oil is hot, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to take skillet out before oil starts smoking. Carefully pour hot oil into mixture and stir until oil is incorporated. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
(This is how I learned to make cornbread from my mother. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, use an 8 to 9-inch pan (use nonstick spray). Skip the step of heating the oil in the oven, and just add the oil to the batter with the egg and milk.)
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