Cornbread Dressing with Fresh Herbs

serves 10-12

1 1/2 pounds (about 9 cups) good white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 pound (about 3 cups) cornbread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 Tablespoons (3-ounces) unsalted butter

2 medium onions (about 2 cups), finely diced

3 medium celery ribs (about 1 1/2 cups), finely diced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves

2 Tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves

2 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half

3 extra large eggs

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4-1/3 cup turkey drippings, reserved from roasted turkey

Preheat the oven to 250º F.  Place the white bread and corn bread cubes on a large baking sheet.  Bake until the edges are dried but the centers are still soft, about 45 minutes.  (If two baking sheets are needed, adjust racks in upper-middle and lower-middle position and rotate halfway through baking).  Bread can be dried a day in advance.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish, set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375º F.

In a large bowl, toss together the white bread cubes and the corn bread cubes; set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions and celery; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, and sage and sauté for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Pour the vegetable mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining chicken broth, half-and-half, and eggs.  Pour the broth mixture over the bread mixture; add the parsley and toss to combine.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup turkey drippings over the dressing.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Enjoy!

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