December 11, 2010

CORNBREAD STUFFING

To Make The Cornbread:

4 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 quart buttermilk
6 eggs, beaten
8 tbsp. butter (1 stick)


Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Beat eggs using a whisk or a fork. Pour in the buttermilk while beating for 1 minute.
Gradually add egg mixture to the dry ingredients, Stirring just enough to combine.
Melt butter in a warmed 10-inch cast-iron skillet and swirl to allow butter to coat all sides. Place empty pan in oven to heat for 5 minutes, then add cornbread batter to hot pan, spreading evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cornbread comes out clean and top is golden brown (about 20 minutes).

Remove pan from oven and run a blunt knife around edges. Remove cornbread from pan and let cool on wire rack. Break up cornbread into good sized chunks for stuffing and leave on countertop for 1 hour to crisp up. The cornbread can be baked the day before.



To Make The Stuffing:

1/2 lb. pancetta, cubed or 4-5 strips bacon
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
giblets, chopped (optional)
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup chicken stock (more or less as needed)
8 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp. rubbed sage or Bell's Seasoning
2-3 cups pecans or walnuts
2 cups dried cranberries 




Sauté pancetta or bacon and giblets if using in 1 tbsp. butter. Cut into cubes. Add onions, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add seasonings and saute for 2 minutes. Add cornbread and melted butter, tossing to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Combine beaten egg and broth; pour over all.

Transfer stuffing to a foil-lined greased baking dish or loaf pan (makes about 2 loaves) or use to fill a 20 lb turkey. If stuffing turkey, stuff just before putting the turkey in the oven and wait for stuffing to cool in refrigerator for 1 hour before using. Fill turkey about 3/4 full with the stuffing. About 3/4 pound of stuffing per pound of turkey will be sufficient. A stuffed bird will take slightly longer to roast.

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