Richmond Times-Dispatch

Crisp yet moist sheet pan dressing

- BY ANN MALONEY — Ann Maloney

If you love the crispy top and crunchy corners from a dish of dressing, you owe it to yourself to make a batch using a sheet pan.

For this cornbread dressing, the bread is lightly toasted and tossed together with diced vegetables, herbs, cream, broth and egg and then spread evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet and slipped into the oven.

It bakes quickly, and the result is a crusty top with a layer of moist dressing below.

Even if you cut the soft, moist cornbread into chunks and bake it in the oven until crispy, it will largely fall apart as you stir the ingredient­s together. That’s why I also include a smaller amount of white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces, and baked until dry and crispy. It gives the dressing more texture.

I love the combinatio­n of thyme and sage, but if you don’t, substitute with your favorite seasoning blend, because this simple cornbread dressing can be easily altered to suit your taste.

If you like it sweet, use sweetened cornbread or add sugar. If you prefer a spicy kick, add a pinch more cayenne or mince a seeded jalapeño and stir it into the mixture before baking. Add crumbled crisp bacon or well-cooked sausage bits, if you like.

Keep in mind that the dressing will be a bit drier than most that are baked in a casserole dish or made on the stove. If it is too dry, that can be easily remedied by sprinkling additional cream or broth on top and tossing the cooked dressing together before serving.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees. Spread out the cornbread and white bread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast them for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.

In a large bowl, combine the celery, onion, scallions, eggs, heavy cream, garlic, sage, thyme, salt and cayenne. Add the toasted bread, pour the broth over everything and, as gently as possible, toss together until well combined. The dressing should be wet and all of the bread moistened, but not soupy. Add more cream or stock, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is dry or crumbly.

Remove any crumbs from the baking sheet pan used to toast the bread and grease it with cooking spray or oil. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared sheet and dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Leftovers can be refrigerat­ed for up to 4 days. If the dressing is too dry when reheating, add a splash of creamor broth to moisten.

Variations: Add ½ cup crisp chopped bacon or well- cooked sausage to the bowl before adding the bread.

Use sweetened cornbread, or add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to the bowl, if you want a sweet cornbread dressing.

Nutrients per serving ( based on 10): 321 calories, 16 grams fat ( 8 grams saturated), 105 milligrams cholestero­l, 612 milligrams sodium, 35 grams carbohydra­te, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams sugars, 8 grams protein.

 ?? TOMMCCORKL­E FOR THEWASHING­TON POST ?? For this recipe, you can buy cornbread or make your own from scratch or a mix. If buying a mix, buy 2 (8.5-ounce) boxes of corn muffinmix, such as Jiffy.
TOMMCCORKL­E FOR THEWASHING­TON POST For this recipe, you can buy cornbread or make your own from scratch or a mix. If buying a mix, buy 2 (8.5-ounce) boxes of corn muffinmix, such as Jiffy.

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