Some might call this cornbread-based casserole dressing; others, stuffing. I call it butter-rich; bacon- and chestnut-enhanced; and ridiculously, sinfully delicious. Semantics of name aside, this cornbread stuffing is no joke and may just be the best stuffing I've tasted. And I've tried more than my fair share of recipes.
A note about the recipe: some of the ingredient proportions may seem odd — a whopping 1/2 cup maple syrup comes to mind — but just trust that it works. Admittedly, it tastes a bit sweeter than most stuffings, but I'd be shocked if you and your Thanksgiving guests don't come back for a hearty helping after the initial, slightly puzzling bite.
The cornbread can be made ahead of time. There will be leftover cornbread; reserve it for another use, or serve it as part of the Thanksgiving spread.
- For the cornbread:
- 2 cups coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
- 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup honey
- 4 large eggs
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- For the stuffing:
- 1/2 loaf crusty white bread, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 cup shelled chestnuts (frozen or canned), coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces thickly cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch lardons
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 cups diced celery, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 cups thinly sliced leek, cleaned
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 3 tablespoons minced sage
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
- For the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously grease a three-quart casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, whole wheat and all-purpose flours, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, honey, eggs, melted butter, and baking soda until thoroughly combined.
- Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the casserole dish, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden on top and a cake tester comes out clean.
- For the stuffing: Crumble one-and-a-half pounds of the cornbread into large chunks. Place the cornbread chunks and bread cubes on a baking sheet, and bake until dry. Place the chestnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for five minutes or until the chestnuts begin to release their oil.
- Cook the bacon in a deep, extralarge (12 to 14 inches) skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving behind the rendered fat. Add the butter, celery, leek, and half a tablespoon of salt, and sauté until soft, five to 10 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning and sage, and cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow to cool.
- Toss together the crumbled cornbread, bread cubes, chestnuts, bacon, sautéed vegetables, maple syrup, one tablespoon of salt, pepper, lemon juice, chicken stock, and parsley in a very large bowl. The stuffing can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated to cook the next day if you like.
- To cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the stuffing mixture to a buttered three-quart baking dish. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for one hour. Remove the foil from the stuffing, and continue to bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot.
- Side Dishes, Stuffing/dressing
- North American
- 12 servings