Chef Alexei Harrison

COLUMBUS, Miss.-- With the holiday season in full swing, it is time to start planning and preparing for all of the holiday meals. One dish that is sure to be at every Thanksgiving gathering and most Christmas dinners is dressing.

In most families, there is a staple dressing recipe that is sure to never disappoint. However, when bouncing around from one family gathering to the next, the same traditional dressing can become mundane.

Chef Alexei Harrison, chair of the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women, has prepared a Cajun dressing for her family over the past several years to spice up traditional dressing.

“I started using this recipe because my family and I got tired of having the same traditional dressing at every family gathering,” stated Chef Harrison. “Now, my family won’t let me use any other recipe.”

Some people do not enjoy spicy food. Others cannot handle eating spicy food. In these instances, Chef Harrison suggested adjusting the spice level in accordance to those who will be consuming the meal. It is important to be aware of this knowledge when preparing the dish.

Chef Harrison provided her family’s favorite dressing recipe:

Cajun Dressing

•    6 to 8 ounces Andouille sausage, (about 2 links) diced
•    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•    2 celery stalks, small dice
•    1 green bell pepper, small dice
•    1 large onion, small dice
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    1 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed
•    3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning blend, divided
•    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•    ½ teaspoon dry mustard
•    2 eggs, lightly beaten
•    1/2 cup half-and-half
•    2 1/2 cups crumbled cornbread
•    1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
•    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
•    1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock


Brown sausage in a large skillet. Add butter and allow to melt. Add celery, bell pepper and onion and cook until soft and translucent.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add crawfish, 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, dry mustard and black pepper. Mix together and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and remaining 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning. Add cornbread, bread crumbs, parsley and crawfish mixture. Mix together well.

Add enough chicken stock to moisten the mixture.

Transfer to a greased 9x13-inch pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes.

“You can just about put anything together with bread and make a good dressing,” said Chef Harrison. “So long as you have some form of bread and good ingredients to start out with, it’s easy to make a delicious dressing.”

The most important thing when it comes to making any dressing is to ensure that it is not dry. The way to do this is be sure that you add enough liquid ingredients before you bake your dressing. The fat content of the meat you choose to add will also keep the dish from drying out.

If you or someone in your family is vegetarian or vegan, Chef Harrison suggested a squash dressing.
Give this Cajun dressing recipe a try for a new take on a classic holiday dish.

Nov. 25, 2019
Contact: Mariallen Moore