Ree Drummond Adds an Unusual Secret Ingredient to her Southern Cornbread Dressing
Hint: This will give your Thanksgiving meal a little kick!
Have you made your Thanksgiving sides ahead of time? If not, Ree Drummond has a suggestion of how to spice up your stuffing. Of course, she calls it “dressing” and we know that this dressing vs. stuffing is a timeless debate. But whatever you call it where you’re from, we can all agree that it is an essential side for your Thanksgiving table. If you aren’t using a beloved family recipe, may we suggest taking a cue from the Queen of Pawhuska and kicking up the heat level?
That’s right, The Pioneer Woman herself made “Southern Dressing” in her 2015 Thanksgiving episode and she let us in on a little secret about how she made Nan’s recipe her own. She added one very special, spicy ingredient—jalapeños!
Drummond starts by making an herbed cornbread that will serve as the base for her dressing, noting she uses her mom’s basic cornbread recipe that she changes “just a little bit.” She adds three classic Thanksgiving dried herbs to her bowl—dried sage, thyme, and basil. Drummond also uses both regular milk and buttermilk in her cornbread base whereas most recipes call only for buttermilk.
WATCH: 105 of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Sides
Once the cornbread is baked, Drummond cubes it up and then gets going on her dressing ingredients. This is where she slips in the secret ingredient into her veggie mix. Along with the classic choices of onion and celery, Drummond adds some chopped bell pepper and chopped jalapeño pepper.
“This is Southern dressing, so I want it to have a little kick to it,” Drummond quips in the episode. She finishes off her dressing casserole with the addition of cubed French bread and she also throws in some bacon, for good measure. But of course, if your family doesn’t eat bacon or you’re having vegetarians for Thanksgiving, the bacon can be omitted, and you can swap chicken broth out for vegetable broth.
If this recipe sounds like a winner for your turkey day menu, you can find the recipe and a video clip of the episode here. And if you're looking for a lighter version, try our easy-to-make stuffing-flavored cornbread (which you can add jalapeños to), or one of our many other holiday stuffings.