Recipe: Cornbread Dressing With Giblet Gravy

Activist Toni Tipton-Martin is author of "The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks" (University of Texas Press), a work of cultural archaeology that explores African-American cooking, from plantation cabins and Big House kitchens, to elite homes of the Old South, to the soul food brought North, with recipes taken from Tipton-Martin's collection of rare cookbooks dating from the early 19th through late 20th centuries.

Toni's Cornbread Dressing With Giblet Gravy
Makes 12 servings

1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
½ Tbls. minced garlic
1 cup melted butter
4 cups Buttermilk Cornbread
1 ½ cups Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme and sage
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 eggs
1 ½ cups turkey giblet stock, chicken or vegetable broth

Univ. of Texas Press

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic in ½ cup butter 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, cool.

Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Add Buttermilk Cornbread, Toasted Breadcrumbs and seasonings. Toss well to mix well. Add eggs, remaining ½ cup melted butter and stock and toss well.

Transfer dressing to a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned (about 30 to 45 minutes).

Note: For moister dressing, spoon ½ cup broth over dressing during last 30 minutes cooking time. Dressing may be assembled up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Buttermilk Cornbread

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 Tbls. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup melted butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix with a wire whisk until well-blended. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk until well-mixed.

Place butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and heat in the oven until bubbly. Stir butter into batter. Pour batter into skillet and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely and break into large pieces. Let stand, uncovered, overnight, or store in a sealed plastic bag up to 3 days.

Toasted Bread Crumbs
Makes about 1 ½ cups

12 slices bread


Place bread slices in the bowl of a food processor and process to crumbs. Spread crumbs in a shallow baking pan and bake in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes until dry, stirring halfway through cooking time to prevent over-browning. Crumbs will reduce in volume after toasting.

Giblet Gravy


1 turkey giblets
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
5 black peppercorns
3-4 stems parsley
2 quarts water
¼ cup turkey drippings
¼ cup flour
Salt, pepper


Bring turkey giblets, vegetables, peppercorns, parsley, and water to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Remove meat from broth and chop into small dice.

Pour off all but ¼ cup drippings from turkey roasting pan. Stir 2 cups broth into pan. Cook and stir, scraping bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in flour. Cook and stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. Add reserved giblets to pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes longer to warm giblets. Add additional broth, as needed for thinner gravy.

For lighter gravy: Stir together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 to 3 tablespoons broth and whisk into sauce.

For reduction: Stir chopped giblets into broth and continue to cook 5 minutes longer or until reduced by half.

For more info: