My nominee for the next new Olympic sport is Thanksgiving. You got it – the whole darn tooting day. Think about it – you wake up, race to the kitchen, get a cup of joe and start cooking. Don’t sleep in, don’t pass go and definitely don’t collect $200. You are a man/woman/child/elderly person on a mission.
Because face it, Thanksgiving doesn’t cook itself. While everyone else is watching a bowl game or getting in a fight, you’re cooking. And we’re not talking about meat and 2 veg, we’re talking about a spread that would make a grown man/woman/child/elderly person cry.
It takes planning, it takes energy and it takes courage. Ask me – and this is borderline blasphemy here – it’s the sides that get me excited. Don’t get me wrong, I love a slice or 10 of turkey but it’s the side dishes that get me all hot and bothered. And numero uno on my list is stuffing. It’s not hard to figure out why. We’re basically talking about bread and fat bound with eggs (actually it doesn’t sound great when I put it that way, but you know what I mean).
Plus, stuffing is a carrier for gravy and that’s got to be a good thing. This stuffing is made with cornbread (doesn’t that make it gluten free and therefore good for you???) and laced with a healthy dose of chile and sausage. You can make the cornbread the day before – even sauté the celery and onion (pop them in the fridge overnight) – then just assemble. Stuff it in the bird if you want, although I’m a stuffing out-of-the-bird kind of guy – I find you get a nicer, crispier crust.
Best of all, if you haven’t invited over your whole extended family, you’ll have leftovers. And at the end of the day while you may not get an Olympic gold medal, l.o.’s are a pretty good consolation prize.
Chile Cornbread Stuffing
Serves around 8
I’ve included a cornbread recipe inspired by one I love from Cast Your Bread Upon the Water by Sister Schubert but use your own, if you want. You’ll want a 9” pan of cornbread. When you’re making the cornbread, add the chile to the other dry ingredients.
5 oz. butter, melted
1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
2 Tbsp water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 Tbsp green chile caribe
1 Tbsp red chile pequin
Preheat oven to 400º. Brush your baking pan with some of the melted butter. Mix the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry and stir to mix, being careful not to overwork. Pour into the baking pan and put in the oven. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz sausage meat
1 pan cornbread, crumbled
5 Tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350º.
Melt the 2 Tbsp butter in a pan and sauté the celery and onion until soft but not brown. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl. Crumble up the sausage and cook in the pan until just cooked through. Add the sausage meat (drain if necessary), cornbread, butter, broth, parsley, and eggs to the bowl. Mix and place into a greased casserole dish. Bake for approximately an hour until a skewer comes out clean.