1 pound bacon, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
5 cups finely crumbled corn bread
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten

In a large skillet heated over medium-high heat, cook the diced bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon, discarding or reserving bacon fat for another use. Set bacon aside in a paper-towel-lined bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, white pepper, ground red pepper, black pepper, oregano, onion powder and thyme to form a seasoning mix. Set aside.

In a large skillet heated over medium-high heat, melt the butter and stir in the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are bright and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Stir in seasoning mix and continue cooking until vegetables are barely wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked bacon, the broth and Tabasco and cook for 5 minutes to marry flavors, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in the corn bread, milk and eggs, stirring well. Remove dressing to a baking dish, cover and refrigerate until chilled before stuffing. (To bake dressing on its own, increase evaporated milk to 1 2/3 cups and spoon dressing into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish; bake at 350 F until browned on top, about 35 to 40 minutes.)

Makes about 6 cups.

— Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen."