Oyster Cornbread Dressing
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
1 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups crumbled cornbread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 (3/4-ounce) bunch fresh tarragon, leaves stripped and chopped
2 cups shucked oysters with their liquor
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the crumbled cornbread and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, then remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock, parsley and tarragon. Stir in the cornbread mixture and the oysters. Pour the dressing mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until dressing is set and golden brown, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, cover and refrigerate overnight before baking; see note.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
About the recipe
Give your cornbread dressing a briny taste of the Low Country by adding fresh oysters.
When making a cornbread dressing, it’s important to remember that the crumbly cornbread will absorb a significant amount of liquid, so don’t worry if the initial mixture appears loose. While not mandatory, your dressing will benefit from an overnight rest in the refrigerator before baking, as it gives the cornbread more time to absorb the liquid. Using pre-shucked oysters is perfectly acceptable here, as the oysters’ liquor adds to that briny, oceanic flavor of the dressing. But avoid the canned oysters packed near the sardines and anchovies — they’re way too salty.
You can either buy pre-made cornbread or make your own. If you take the store-bought option, purchase a cornbread with as little sugar added as possible.