I’m pretty traditional when it comes to stuffing, and I’ll be the first to admit that my favourite stuffing–hands down–is the Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing “fancied” up with some sauteed onions and celery. It is what I grew up on and it still embodies the taste of the holidays to me.
However, I’m also pretty open to new tastes, so we decided to make a truly fancy stuffing this year. I never used to like cornbread that much, but have recently become a huge sucker for it. In this stuffing recipe, the sweetness of the cornbread contrasts nicely with the spicy andouille sausage, and there are a few veggies thrown in there for penance since you are basically eating a dish made up of bread and sausage. This recipe makes more than enough stuffing for 8 guests at $1.34 per serving.
Cornbread Stuffing with Andouille, Fennel, and Bell Peppers, adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009
1 1/2 pounds purchased cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons butter, divided
12 ounces fully cooked andouille sausages (about 4), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 large egg
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage pieces and saute them until they are brown, around 4 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a large bowl.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, onion, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the veggies from the heat, and add them to bowl with the sausages.
Preheat the oven to 350¬?F. Add the cornbread, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the vegetable-sausage mixture, and mix everything gently. Whisk together the 2 cups of broth and the egg in a medium bowl, then add the broth mixture to the stuffing and toss so that everything gets coated.
Place the stuffing in a large glass baking dish, and bake it uncovered until the stuffing becomes crisp on top, about 1 hour. Let the stuffing stand for 15 minutes to cool before enjoying.