The Creole Ingredient Swap In Chef Mashama Bailey's Cornbread Dressing

We're just going to put this out there: If the James Beard Outstanding Chef award winner recommends an adjustment to a classic dish, it's absolutely worth a try. Mashama Bailey, executive chef and partner of The Grey in Savannah, Georgia, has taken the food scene by storm. Although she was born and raised in New York City, her maternal roots come from Georgia, where she spent her summers learning to cook from the women in her family (via The Grey Restaurant). According to Financial Times, Mashama is someone who loves old cookbooks, leading her to work hard to revive lost foods, normalizing them in the modern day. These recipes pay homage to their origins — especially those representing African American food.

Given this, there's no surprise that Mashama found a delicious way to change up cornbread dressing, a classic Southern dish. A food typically served at Thanksgiving, this staple is a cornbread-based dish that it's served alongside the main dish, usually turkey. It differs from cornbread stuffing as it is not baked inside the bird's cavity (via MasterClass). While many believe corning dressing is Southern, it can also be considered African. Reminiscent of a dish enslaved made called kush, it brings reminders and memories of times that were different (via Chicago Tribune). So, how does Mashama spice up her cornbread dressing?

Some Southern flair

Although her roots may come from Georgia, Mashama highlights the flavors found in Louisiana in her cornbread dressing. Creole food, which was created in New Orleans, is a blend of European, African, and Native American cuisines. It includes rich sauces and an abundant amount of seafood (via New Orleans). However, when it comes to Creole, roux-based gumbos and shrimp are extremely prevalent, and it's clear that Mashama wanted to highlight this.

According to MasterClass, Mashama created a Southern cornbread dressing that uses a Creole sauce made from shrimp stock and white wine instead of chicken stock. The roux-based sauce that the chef created includes a typical blackening spice, shrimp powder, and shrimp stock. While replacing something so simple as the liquid to moisten the dish, this swap completely transforms the food, creating an immense amount of flavor. Feeling inspired to try something new to your next cornbread dressing? Try this one out as a base recipe!