I have this weird thing about cold food. I don’t really like it all that much. Especially when it is cold leftovers! There is something about the smell that just turns my stomach. Something that smells absolutely delicious when hot (pizza, pasta, soup, the list goes on…) will be absolutely repulsing to me after it has chilled in the fridge. I also hate (HATE) the residual pizza smell in my car if we get takeout.
You’re probably wondering what on earth that has to do with corn bread stuffing. I would be wondering, too. I had to provide a bit of background, though, to help you to understand the gravity of this next statement…
I have eaten this leftover corn bread stuffing for lunch (voluntarily) two days in a row. Not even the cold food smell could keep me away from it!
For some reason I have been craving corn bread stuffing for a while now. The strange thing is, I had never even tried it before. It just sounded like it had to be good! So, when I started working on my Thanksgiving menu, I began searching for a good corn bread stuffing recipe. I came across this recipe from Gourmet and decided to give it a try. Naturally, I made my own changes (as I always do), and I basically halved the recipe. I say basically, because I changed up the proportions a bit. Since my version uses one nine-inch pan of corn bread (one box of Jiffy), it’s easy to double or triple (or even quadruple, if you have a really large baking dish).
Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I have… This will definitely be making an appearance at my place for Thanksgiving!
Corn Bread Stuffing with Cranberries and Sausage
(Adapted from Gourmet, November 1997)
- 9-inch pan of corn bread (1 box Jiffy corn bread mix prepared – that’s what I like)
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks (about 1 cup), sliced and cleaned
- 2 ribs celery (about 1/2 cup), sliced
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish (medium-sized, about 7 x 11 inches) with cooking spray and set aside.
Slice the corn bread into small 1/2 inch cubes and place in a shallow pan. Bake the corn bread in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes, until dry and slightly golden. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl, and then use the pan to toast the pecans and walnuts in the oven. The nuts will only take a few minutes (5 or so). Be sure to keep an eye on them because they will go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
Once the nuts are toasted, add them to the cornbread in the large mixing bowl. Add the dried cranberries into the bowl as well.
In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and celery, and saute until soft, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the sausage to the skillet, crumbling as it cooks in the skillet. After the sausage is cooked through (about 5 minutes), remove the skillet from the heat and pour the sausage mixture into the large mixing bowl with the cornbread, nuts, and cranberries. Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and moisten all of the stuffing ingredients.
Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Bake for about one hour – covered for the first 30 minutes and uncovered for the remaining 30 minutes for a nice crisp stuffing. (If you prefer a more moist, less crisp stuffing, simply bake covered for the entire hour).