This is one of my favorite treats! I rarely make these because I don’t usually want to spend the money to buy the thick sliced turkey I use for these sandwiches, but sometimes, I just crave them and decide to treat myself. This weekend was one of those times.
This recipe is actually a copycat recipe of one of my favorite dishes from Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama. I lived in Greenville during my middle school years, and this amazing little restaurant was owned and operated by a classmate’s family. It is absolutely the best place on the planet to get your Thanksgiving food cravings satisfied all year round.
Bates made the most amazing open faced turkey sandwiches, and that’s almost always what I ordered when my family went there. Since we have moved back to north Alabama, I often wish I could just run by Bates on the way home and pick up one of these beauties, but nowadays, I have to settle for making them myself.
I start out with my great grandmother’s chicken dressing recipe. There are many chicken dressing recipes in my family, but Mamaw Hall’s is my favorite and the one my mother always makes, so it’s the one that I can make without having to dig through a recipe box or open up a cookbook. It’s really the easiest dressing ever. My one tip for this recipe is to make sure you DON’T overcook it. It needs to be moist when you take it out of the oven. This is not a cakey dressing. You want to scoop it out of the pan, not slice it like a cake (I am NOT a fan of those kind of dressings, but to each his own, I guess…)
Here’s what you need for the dressing:
(Note: This is my great grandmother’s recipe and is made for feeding a large family. When I make this just for myself and my husband, I either separate it into smaller pans and freeze some or I cut the recipe down to avoid waste.)
1 large pone of cornbread, crumbled
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1/2 white onion, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
8 Chicken thighs, boiled and shredded (I like white meat, so I usually use 4 chicken breasts for this part. Also, a mixture of white and dark meat is awesome!)
Chicken broth (reserved from cooking chicken)
Salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste
Crumble the cornbread and crackers into a LARGE mixing bowl. Add the onions and stir until mixed. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the bread mixture. Stir until mixed well. Add the shredded chicken, and then slowly add the chicken broth as needed.
*Make sure you add the hot chicken broth slowly and mix it up after each addition or it can boil the bits of egg and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your dressing, which nobody wants.
The mixture should be pretty wet. Last, add seasonings to taste. I usually add about a tablespoon of each, then taste a forkful and adjust as needed.
Pour the batter into a buttered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until just starting to brown on top.
Now to assemble the sandwiches!
For each sandwich you will need:
3 pieces of toasted sandwich bread
2 to 3 slices of thick sliced deli turkey, heated (I love Sarah Lee or Butterball – this can be expensive, but I have found that they usually have a coupon at the grocery store deli and they always have a special running, so ask before they slice it to see what their deals are for that day)
Turkey gravy, heated (I buy this in a jar at the grocery store and heat it up in the microwave- making gravy is my nemesis)
Mamaw’s Chicken Dressing
Slice the toast into triangles and layer on the plate. Spread some of the gravy on each piece of toast, then lay the turkey on top. Scoop a couple large scoops of dressing in the middle of the sandwich, then drizzle on some more gravy.
Like I said, this is a RARE treat. It’s enough food to put you into a Thanksgiving food coma, but it is SO GOOD. It’s almost like being back at Bates in Greenville. I think the first time I made this for my husband is when he decided he was going to ask me to marry him. It’s that good.