Cornbread cranberry stuffing

So for this past Christmas, I was determined to go all American since I hadn’t gotten to do Thanksgiving.  This meant turkey, cornbread, stuffing, and cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner.  Imagine my utter horror when try as I might, I could not find frozen cranberries (and certainly not fresh) at ANY grocery stores in Sydney.  My plans were being foiled and I was extremely annoyed, because cranberry sauce is one of my absolutely favourite things.  (Seriously, anyone Australian reading this…find me frozen cranberries and I will cook you dinner and show you what you are missing out on.)  So, this was the next best thing I could come up with – stuffing that contained dried cranberries.  Obviously it’s not quite a substitute for cranberry sauce, but if I do say myself, this is without a doubt the best stuffing I’ve ever made.  It probably had something to do with the fact that the bread for was the cornbread I had made the night before, but the flavour added by the dried cranberries makes it truly fantastic.

Let’s not make holidays the only time we can eat stuffing, guys.  It’s just so good.  Yes, this takes a bit more time than you would use in preparing a meal during the week, but on the weekend or a special occasion, make this stuffing and serve it alongside roast pork, chicken, or turkey, and people will just love you.

Cornbread cranberry stuffing (adapted from A Food Centric Life)

Ingredients (should serve four as a side dish)

  • 1 loaf of cornbread (see my recipe here or just buy some if you are in America at Whole Foods, which has the most frighteningly addictive cornbread of all time.  However I guarantee mine is healthier.)
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 large celery ribs
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or use the slightly shameful but oh so easy minced garlic in a jar shortcut…I do this nearly all the time)
  • 1/2 cup or 2 ounces (60 grams) dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme (if you don’t have fresh herbs it’s totally fine to just sprinkle with dried herbs)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Start a day or two ahead by baking the cornbread.  I baked mine the night before and cut it into small cubes and then placed them in a baking pan and left them uncovered so they could dry out.  If you’ve bought the cornbread, make sure to unwrap it the day before so it can get dried out.

Prepare your vegetables – for the leeks, you just want the bottom part of it, so cut off all the big green leaves at the top and the bottom part with the stem, and then wash it, slice it in half lengthwise, and then slice in half lengthwise again.  Then dice it.  Make sure they are thoroughly washed as leeks can sometimes be a bit dirty.  Dice the onion and celery. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the leek, onion, and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  I sometimes have to add a bit of water to make sure they don’t stick to the pan.  (You can of course cook them in butter, but I prefer to reserve butter for my baking feats only!)  Then add the garlic and saute another minute.  Add salt and pepper and then the dried cornbread cubes and mix in gently.  Finally, add whatever fresh or dried spices you’d like to (I didn’t have fresh on hand so just added thyme, rosemary, and oregano), the cranberries, and the beaten egg and milk.  Mix gently over low heat.

Put the dressing into a lightly greased baking pan and cover with foil.  Bake in a 350 F / 180 C oven for 35-40 minutes.  At this point you can take it out and put it into a chicken / turkey, or remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until it’s nice and golden.  Serve warm and feel free to taste straight from the pan with a spoon (after all you must ensure your guests are getting a high quality product).

IMG_3855Dried out cornbread cubes – the crucial base of the stuffing

IMG_3854Celery, onions, and leeks in the pan

IMG_3856

Adding in the dried cranberries and cornbread cubes

IMG_3857

Ready to go into the oven after egg and milk mixture has been added and stirred in

IMG_3859Final delicious golden product.

This tasted absolutely incredible with turkey but I imagine it would also be amazing with roast chicken or another roasted meat like pork or duck.   This will definitely be my go-to stuffing from here on out!



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