This moist and flavorful cornbread dressing from Alabama chef Scott Peacock uses a homemade buttermilk cornbread and adds celery, onions, sage, and roasted pecans that get stirred in right before baking to retain their crunch. If you don't already have a family dressing recipe for your Thanksgiving menu, this one is sure to be an heirloom for generations to come.

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Ingredients

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Arrange sage in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until leaves darken, shrink slightly, and feel crisp, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Crumble 4 teaspoons' worth of leaves; reserve the rest for another use (stored in an air-tight container at room temperature up to 1 month).

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  • Increase oven temperature to 350 ̊F. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.

  • Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Place 3 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron); heat in oven until it melts and starts to sizzle, 3 to 4 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, salt, and baking soda to combine. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 3 whole eggs. Add to cornmeal mixture, whisking until smooth.

  • Carefully remove skillet from oven, swirling to coat bottom and sides. Pour hot butter into batter; whisk to combine. Transfer batter to skillet and bake until set and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack; let cool completely. Break cornbread into bite-size pieces and spread them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F and bake until dry and crisp, about 30 minutes.

  • Increase oven temperature to 325°F. Brush a 3-quart baking dish with butter. Melt 1 stick butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onions; season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and translucent but not developing any color, about 15 minutes. Stir in crumbled sage; cook 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.

  • In a large bowl, combine cornbread and vegetable mixture. Add 5 beaten eggs, stock, and pecans, stirring to combine. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and stir into cornbread mixture.

  • Transfer mixture to prepared dish; bake 50 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F, continue baking until dressing is set and top is browned, 10 to 12 minutes more. Serve warm, garnished with celery leaves.

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