Today I’m keeping it short and sweet. My friend Dutch created this dressing last year. Since then, I have daydreamed about it many times. Though Cheez-It crackers were created in 1915 (according to Smithsonian Magazine), the dish feels like a ‘70s throwback to me. It’s somehow mentally morphed into a phantom childhood favorite. This week, I tested it as a candidate to take to our annual Friendsgiving potluck. I loved it. Mark loved it, too. I know it will be a hit at the gathering. You don’t have to be a Cheez-It lover to enjoy this dish. But if you are, you’ll love it even more. I made a few tweaks which I added as italicized comments in the recipe.

Dutch’s Dreamy Cheez-It Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease (I’m pro-bacon grease but felt the andouille would do nicely on its own. As a compromise I greased the pan with the bacon grease.)
  • 1 cup frozen holy trinity or 1/3 cup each freshly diced onion, celery and green bell pepper
  • 1 cup grated andouille sausage
  • 2-1/2 cups stale savory cornbread, cut into small cubes or prepackaged savory cornbread
  • 2-1/2 cups Cheez-It crackers, crushed
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream (I “healthied” it up by using a cup of broth made with the bouillon instead of this, but you do you.)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons cayenne (I cut this down to ¼ teaspoon, because it’s for a group and I don’t know everyone’s threshold for spicy.)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Knorr tomato with chicken granulated bouillon (I couldn’t find the tomato version, so I used regular and cut it to a teaspoon, since I already added a cup of broth made from the bouillon.)
  • 1-1/2 cup lump crab meat (I love crab but omitted it due to budget concerns. I plan to include it for the gathering.)
The Cheez-It Dressing Recipe Your Thanksgiving Needs
Photo by Melanie Spencer

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease large casserole pan (reminder that bacon grease is good for this, but butter or shortening works, too) and set aside.

Heat bacon grease (if you are going this route) in a medium frying pan over medium high heat. Add prepared holy trinity and grated andouille sausage, sauté until vegetables are soft. (If not frying in bacon grease, just trinity and sausage) everything in the pan and cook until veggies are soft.) Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add stale cornbread and gently stir in crumbled Cheez-Its until combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and heavy cream. Still whisking, add the rest of the spices; paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, oregano, cayenne, thyme, and bouillon. Combine with the cornbread mixture, stirring gently to maintain the shape of the cornbread cubes.

After the mixture sits for 10 minutes pour into prepared casserole dish and cover top evenly with crab meat. Gently fold the crab into the mixture. (Here, I topped it with another couple of handfuls of crushed Cheez-Its and then garnished with a few whole ones in pretty pattern.) Cover with aluminum foil

Place on middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Serve hot.

If you make it, email me your review and that of your friends and family at melanie@myneaorleans.com.