All Photos: Wendy Goodfriend
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. I live for the classic dishes: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing/dressing. Without those 4 dishes, it’s simply not Thanksgiving. I tend to make the same dishes year in and year out, but every so often I like to switch it up. I generally opt for the standard bread-onion-celery-sage stuffing, pimped up with some roasted chestnuts and maybe sautéed leeks. But this year, since I decided to BBQ my turkey, I thought I’d find a more Southern-style, yet classic stuffing.
Sweet and salty, this cornbread stuffing is a colorful addition to your Thanksgiving table. Long ago I stopped stuffing my bird, and I don’t recommend it (mainly because you would have to greatly overcook the bird to get the stuffing to a safe temperature to avoid food poisoning). I prefer to bake my stuffing (in which case it’s really called “dressing” but I still call it stuffing) in a generously buttered baking dish so that the edges and top get browned and crisp, and the interior stays moist and succulent.
The amount of sweetness truly depends on the cornbread you use for this, so if you prefer a more salty-savory stuffing, by all means make (or buy) a less sweet cornbread.
Recipe: Cornbread and Red Pepper Stuffing
Makes 10 to 12 servings
- 1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the cornbread (if making your own):
For the stuffing:
- About 8 heaping cups cubed cornbread, homemade (see recipe) or purchased
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Kosher salt, as needed
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- If making the cornbread, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (I use cooking spray). In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir until evenly moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack. You can make the bread up to 3 days in advance. When cool, remove it from the pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place at room temperature or in the refrigerator.