23 November 2010


Since we couldn't find a new Thanksgiving book, we thought we would give you a cookbook featuring a popular "Thanksgiving" item -- stuffing. I am a bit of a Thanksgiving purest. (I know what I said in the last post and I am willing to change, but no one has given me reason to change.) Thanksgiving at my house is static -- I cook the same thing, every year, year in, year out.

One of the things I always cook is my cornbread dressing. You see, Southerners are not big "stuffers" we are more the dressing type because our dressing is wonderful and we don't want it contaminated in some turkey cavity. Besides a turkey can hold about 1 1/2 cups of stuffing and we want much, more than that.

Carole Lalli was once editor-in-chief of Food & Wine. She wrote Stuffings which is a nice book that will give you all sorts of ideas and not just for turkey. As a child, we always had dressing with pork, and it was wonderful.

Her is Carole's cornbread stuffing. (It is not my mother's recipe, and Lalli is from Connecticut, but we are going to let that slide in the spirit of the holiday.)

Corn Bread Stuffing

2 pounds unseasoned bulk sausage meat
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
3 inner ribs of celery, leaves included, diced
kernels from 4 ears of corn
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
12 or so broken-up pieces of day-old corn bread
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup or less chicken broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the sausage in a heavy skillet and cook over medium-high heat until it loses its pink color, about 5-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside on paper towels to drain.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat. Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to melt. Add the onion, shallot, and celery, and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes, until they are soft but not brown; scrape up any of the sausage bits clinging to the skillet. Add the corn, sage, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Set aside the mixture to cook for about 10 minutes.

Place the bread in a large bowl. Add the ingredients from the skillet, along with the parsley. Combine the ingredients into a rough mixture (your hands are the best tools for this task). Do not over-combine or break up the bread more than is necessary. If the mixture seems very dry, add enough chicken stock to hold it together loosely. Season with pepper and, depending on the saltiness of the sausage, salt.

We don;t often have the chance to see into the kitchens of the authors we feature on Cookbook Of The Day, but
House Beautiful has a lovely slide show and interview with Carole Lalli. It is definitely a kitchen to die for!

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