Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oh, My!

You know how it is to have one of those moments when you think, “Oh. My. Gosh.  I am becoming my mother?”  Well, today I am becoming my mother-in-law.  She loved to cook and to take food to people and to collect recipes, but she often prefaced her delivery with something like this:  “This is a recipe that _______ brought to the dinner after that funeral last week.  I thought it was so good, so I got it and made it and brought it to you.  It’s just like the one she brought, except I used lime jello instead of cherry and instead of pineapple I put in apricots.  She had Cool Whip on hers, and that’s real expensive, so I used a container of sour cream instead.  I do love sour cream, don’t you?” And so forth. 

Since we missed out on a home-cooked family Thanksgiving dinner this past year for reasons addressed in a previous post, I have been planning to sort of make it up to my husband.  Obviously, I have not been in too much of a rush.  A couple of months ago, I came across a recipe called Amish Roast on a slow cooker forum that I thought had possibilities.  It’s sort of a casserole version of a turkey and dressing meal.  Then I read the recipe more carefully and decided it wouldn’t do.  The recipe comes from Ohio, I think.  As everyone knows, dressing or stuffing—see, two entirely different names—differs from region to region.  Well, I started last night and this morning I put the dish in the Crock Pot to cook while I went to Bible Study.  By the time I got through, there was little resemblance to the original recipe.  Then hubby and I analyzed what we would change for the next time.  Here’s the new and improved recipe, with explanations.  It’s a good choice for just two or three people (with leftovers).

Pseudo-Thanksgiving Dinner

  • 1 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (Plain seasoned or perhaps garlic, but not lemon or barbeque)
  • 3 recipes of cornbread made from those individual bagged mixes (I am picky about the texture of my dressing, so I would use 2 yellow and 1 white.  Stale bread can be substituted for about 1/2 of a recipe.)
  • 1 medium large onion, diced
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • poultry seasoning  (I had one of those spice jars that are about 4 inches tall.  I used about 1/2.  This was an inexpensive store brand; the pricey stuff might not need as much.)
  • 1 more egg, in addition to the ones in the cornbread
  • 3 cans chicken broth
  • Cooking oil
  • Cooking spray

Directions:  I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet to cook the cornbread according to the directions on the bag.  Dump each completed pan into a large bowl when it comes out of the oven, and pour in the batter for the next one.

While the last pan of cornbread is baking, dice and mince the onion, celery, and garlic.  Then add a little oil to the empty cornbread skillet and cook the veggies for about 5 minutes, cover, and set off the heat. 

I did all the previous prep the night before so that the cornbread could dry out some and the veggies could finish cooking by steaming in the hot pan.

This recipe will take 2-3 hours to cook on Crock Pot low, so judge your morning start time accordingly. 

Crumble the cornbread up completely in the bowl.  Add the cooled veggies and mix thoroughly.  Add the poultry seasoning.  Taste to be sure.  Beat the egg and add it to the mixture.  (The egg makes the dressing stick together.  If you like fluffy loose dressing, you can omit it.)  Then stir in the broth.  I do not like dry dressing, so I used all three cans.  It was a little too much.  I suggest 2 1/2. 

If your chicken is cold from the refrigerator, heat it in the microwave following the directions on the packaging.  (I didn’t do this, so it was like putting ice cubes in the Crock Pot and then heating.  It slowed down the cooking time.)  Tear all the meat from the chicken and mix it into the dressing. 

Spray your Crock Pot with cooking spray and pour the chicken and dressing mixture into the cooker.  Cook on low for 2-3 hours.  If I were at home with it all the time, I think I’d start on high till it got warm and then turn it down.  If you are home, you can watch through the lid to see that it is bubbly but not too dry and sneak in a little extra broth if necessary.

This made really good chicken and dressing.  The one thing you don’t get is a slight browning of the top like you do in the oven, but you have the same taste and smell, having dirtied only one skillet, a cutting board, a paring knife, one bowl, one spoon, and a Crock Pot.  Not bad.  And you don’t have to dispose of a turkey carcass.

Of course, if you’re a purist, you can cook your own chicken, but I think that for this purpose the rotisserie chicken is better than using the frozen chicken breasts or strips.  If you’re feeding teenagers or men, you could squeeze in another chicken.  My husband said he would have liked a chopped up boiled egg in the dressing as well.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

That sounds delicious and so much easier than the regular Thanksgiving dinner way. I will have to try that!