For many, cornbread dressing is the soul of Thanksgiving dinner. Rich with savory cornbread and made fragrant with onions and herbs, this side dish is an all-time holiday favorite. Whether moist or dry, cornbread- or white bread-based, the dressing is often more anticipated than the turkey. With this recipe, published in November of 1993, we took the tradition a step further and used grits instead of cornmeal. This dressing is the perfect match for the Thanksgiving turkey, but it would also pair well with baked chicken, pork roast, beef tenderloin, or wild game. Ladle some sautéed shrimp on top of a serving of this dressing, and you may have your new shrimp and grits recipe. You can make the cornbread, or “gritsbread,” a day or two ahead. Once it has cooled, crumble the bread and store it in a zip-loc bag or airtight container. When you are ready to make the dressing, all that is left to do is combine the cornbread crumbles with the onions, herbs, eggs, and a few other ingredients, pop it in the oven and let it bake. Remember that this recipe is a dressing, not a stuffing. A dressing is always baked separately from the turkey in a baking dish, while a stuffing is stuffed into the raw bird, and then baked.
Heat a well-greased, 10-inch cast-iron skillet in a 325˚ oven 5 minutes or until hot. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine 2 eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring mixture just until moistened.
Remove skillet from oven, and pour batter into skillet. Bake at 325˚ for 1 hour or until firm in center, but not browned. Cool and crumble.
Combine crumbled bread, onion, and remaining ingredients; pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish. Bake at 325˚ for 50 minutes or until firm.