There is one thing that I have learned about stuffing (call it dressing, if you wish) after making hundreds of Thanksgiving dinners in my annual holiday cooking classes: Keep it basic. Every time I serve something too upscale, I get in trouble. For a traditional stuffing that hits all the right notes, try this cornbread version. The eggs help the stuffing hold together, making for easier serving, but they can be deleted, if you prefer.
- 2 batches Cranberry and Sage Cornbread
- Two 5-ounce packages mixed dried fruit, such as apricots, pears, peaches, and pitted dried plums
- 8 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1½ cups Turkey Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten (optional)
- 1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1. The day before making the stuffing, bake and cool the cornbreads. Crumble them onto a large baking sheet. Let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry and stale.
2. Combine the dried fruit and enough warm water to cover in a medium bowl. Let stand until softened, about 1 hour. Drain well. Cut the fruit into bite-size pieces.
3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the cornbread, drained fruit, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and celery seed. Stir in enough of the stock to thoroughly moisten the stuffing, about 1½ cups. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Beat the eggs, if using, in a small bowl and stir into the stuffing. Stir in the hazelnuts. Use immediately as a turkey stuffing.