Corny cornbread dressing? What the? You heard right. Dressing, stuffing, whatever you call it, it’s that deliciousness that sits up next to your turkey for Thanksgiving.
Everyone has their very own version. Some make it with cornbread (hey my Southern peeps!), some make it with bread, or some make it with rice (those couyons in Louisiana!) but it’s necessary. I mean, you just have to have some sort of dressing/stuffing for Thanksgiving.
Aside from my mom’s cornbread dressing, which she made with pure love, this corny cornbread dressing is my favorite. It’s way more “intensive” than my mom’s – she was a country girl – this is a little less basic, but nothing crazy.
It’s corny too: Cornbread. Corn juice. And ground Corn Nuts…Yep, Corn Nuts. Those ball busting, teeth breaking corn hunks you used to eat as a kid. I love those, but I don’t dare eat those today, not with these old ass teeth. Believe it or not, they were actually kind of hard to find. I had to go to 4 stores. Worth it though.
It’s just…savory goodness with all that corn. You won’t even find yourself smothering it in gravy either. I mean, if you wanted to that’s fine too. Almost everything begs for gravy.
Anyway, let’s not get off on gravy. I could go on forever. Back to the corny cornbread dressing. Just do it. You can do this up to 3 days ahead of time, which is pretty handy if you’re gonna smoke up a turkey. You’ll need the free time to smoke the turkey and drink the bourbon.
To make in advance, bake at 350°. Let it cool and put it in the fridge. To reheat, heat in a 350° oven until heated through and finish off at 425° until the top is slightly browned.
Around this time of year at The Fresh Market and I’m sure other places, you can find cubed up cornbread for dressing. You can make your own cornbread too. That’s what I do because well, cornbread. ‘Nuff said.
Corny Cornbread Dressing
- 3 pounds baked cornbread, cut into 3/4" cubes
- 1 pound maple breakfast sausage
- 2 sticks butter
- 4 stalks celery, small diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 7 cloves roasted garlic, or 4 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 3/4 cups Corn Nuts, ground in a food processor 1/2 cup after processing
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 7 sage leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3½ – 4 cups turkey or chicken broth/stock
- liquid from one can of corn
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
- non-stick spray
Preheat your oven to 325°. Divide the cornbread cubes on two cookie sheets and bake for 40 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. You want it just slightly dry and brown on the edges. Let cool for at 10-15 minutes.
Increase oven heat to 350°.
While the cornbread is in the oven, brown your maple sausage in a large skillet. Once cooked through, remove to a plate.
Place the 2 sticks of butter in the skillet. When melted and hot, add in the onion and celery. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add in the roasted/fresh garlic and jalapeno. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the Corn Nuts to the skillet, stirring well to incorporate. Cook for about 8-10 more minutes, until the veggies begin to get a brown color.
Add in 3/4 cup of white wine. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the alcohol is almost evaporated.
Stir in the sage and thyme. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Grease a large baking dish or aluminum pan. Set aside.
To a large bowl, add the sausage, cornbread cubes and veggie mixture. Add 1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper. Stir.
Mix the beaten eggs with the broth. Add to the cornbread mixture. Stir gently every few minutes until the cornbread has absorbed all or almost all of the liquid.
HINT: Take a good look at your mixture. Is it too dry? It'll all depend on how dry your cornbread is, whether it's a cake-like cornbread or more a true cornbread style, and the size of your eggs. The cornbread cubes should feel like a wet sponge. Not a soaked sponge but one that has just enough water. If it crumbles in your finger, it's too dry.
If you find the mixture is too dry, add more broth 1/2 cup at a time, stir and give it some time to absorb.
Turn out into your greased baking dish/aluminum pan. Tap on the counter to compact it some.
Drain the liquid from the can of corn. Pour the corn liquid right over the stuffing, distributing it all around the top. Tightly cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes. It should be very hot and bubbling on the sides. Remove the foil and increase the oven temp to 425°. Continue to bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.
This recipe comes from bon appetit magazine, very slightly modified by me. It’s always one of my favorite food mags. One of the only food mags that manages to create new spins on regular food without being silly about it.