Cornbread is a key side dish for Thanksgiving on its own, and also an ingredient of my favourite recipe for cornbread stuffing! This recipe for cornbread stuffing was from an American friend who came for the Thanksgiving party at Christ’s College, Cambridge. However, I since adapted it and I do not know the original author of the recipe. I seem to remember the original recipe had dried apricots, but I prefer the tartness and juiciness of fresh cranberries. I also used my own simpler recipe for cornbread as the base.
For this recipe, it is important to bake one batch (or a double batch) of cornbread a few days before your dinner. Then break up the cornbread into small pieces and crumbs and dry it out. If you run out of time, you can speed this up by baking the crumbs for a couple of hours at low heat in the oven (100C).
Over the years, this stuffing has remained one of the favourite dishes amongst many of my friends. For vegetarians, you can just leave the bacon out and use vegetable instead of chicken broth. I also tend to leave the pecans out since I use them already in the pecan pie.
As a child, we usually prepared stuffing out of a box and that was also very tasty. In fact, I only started making it myself because the stuffing in England is very different from the US. It is smooth and formed into stuffing balls. If you can find it and don’t have time for this recipe then I recommend Mrs. Cubbison’s. We used to have the cube stuffing with herbs, but the cornbread version is also delicious.
One batch of Cornbread, crumbled and dried out for a few days
1/2 cup melted butter
12 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley (loosely packed), chopped
1/3 cup fresh sage (loosely packed), chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
First, put the crumbled and dried cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Next, pour the melted butter evenly over bread mixture, and mix. Then mix bread with all of the other dry ingredients. Finally, add the broth and the salt and stir.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until brown and crispy on the top. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
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