Corn Bread Stuffing for a Crowd
This is taken from Today Show’s Al Roker’s “Hassle-free Holiday Recipe Book”.
Kat has made this for 5 years for Thanksgiving (when she hosts). It is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE, and will blow your guests away.
(This excerpt is taken from Al Roker’s book): A lot of folks like corn bread stuffing, but it is not hassle-free, or so I used to think. First you have to make corn bread, then you have to make stuffing. I used to avoid making it until it dawned on me that I could buy a dozen corn muffins. Presto: no more hassle! You won’t be able to tell the difference and you’ll save some time as well. Of course, if you’re a stickler for the homemade variety, be my guest.
- 12 store-bought corn muffins or a 9 by 5-inch loaf of cornbread (store-bought or made from a mix)
- 1 pound hot or mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
- Unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- Freshly ground pepper
- About 1 cup canned chicken broth or apple cider
Preheat the broiler with the rack set 5 to 6 inches from the heat source. Cut the corn muffins into 1 1/2-inch chunks, scatter them on a baking sheet and toast them under the broiler, turning once, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Warm a large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, break it into pieces with a spoon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate and set it aside.
Measure the fat left in the pan-you want about 1/2 cup. If needed, add butter to make 1/2 cup. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary and hot pepper flakes, if using. Stir in the pecans and the toasted cornbread. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Use immediately or cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Allow the stuffing to come to room temperature before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Just before you stuff the turkey, add enough broth to moisten the stuffing without making it soggy. Stir well.
Stuff the turkey (page 13). Butter a 9-inch baking dish and spoon the remaining stuffing in it. (If you’re cooking all of the stuffing outside the turkey, you’ll need three 9-inch buttered baking dishes.) Dot with 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and moisten with about 1/3 cup additional broth. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated 325 F oven, until the stuffing is heated through.
Makes about 18 cups stuffing, or enough to stuff a 14- to-16 pound turkey and fill a 9-by-9 baking dish as well.
To toast nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place shelled nuts in single layer in an oven-proof skillet and toast, stirring occasionally, until they become fragrant and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. You can also toast nuts in a skillet set over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Or, place the nuts on a layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power for 2 to 3 minutes. (The time will vary according to the size and power of your microwave.) Whatever method you use, keep an eye on the nuts; they go from brown to black pretty quickly.