I’m always looking for interesting stuffings to accompany the Thanksgiving turkey.
And I’ve created several over the years. Check out Melted Leek, Green Apple & Toasted Hazelnut Dressing and Spicy Ciabatta & Cornbread Stuffing with Italian Sausage, Wild Mushrooms & Fresh Herbs.
Here’s the latest. It’s a winner.
Smokin’ Hot Cajun Cornbread Stuffing with Andouille Sausage
Equipment Note I prefer a 10-inch, 8-cup capacity cast iron skillet for this recipe. But you can also use a similarly sized baking dish.
Ingredient Note If you prefer, substitute purchased, uncooked andouille sausage for the homemade sausage specified below.
Ciabatta & Cornbread
1 pound prepared Aunt Elfred’s Cornbread (or Trader Joe’s ready-made cornbread) (both breads have some sweetness, which is perfect for this stuffing)
10 ounces soft, porous, thin-crusted ciabatta or pugliese bread
Andouille Pork Sausage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Smokin’ Hot Cajun Spice
1 pound ground pork sausage (the fattier the better)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
1 pound small wild or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered or sliced
1 cup (4 ounces) trimmed, chopped onions
1 cup (4 ounces) trimmed, chopped celery
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-3 teaspoons Smokin’ Hot Cajun Spice
Eggs & Stock
3 large eggs
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon vanilla
fine sea salt, to taste
- To prepare cornbread and ciabatta, tear each bread into rough pieces, about ¾-inch in size. Arrange torn bread separately on 2 edged cookie sheets. Either let dry overnight of heat oven to 300°F. and bake until totally dry and crisp, about 30 minutes for the ciabatta and 60 minutes for a very moist cornbread. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets.
- To toast spices, in a small sauté pan, heat butter over medium-low heat, and add Smokin’ Hot Cajun Spice. Heat, stirring continuously, for 1-2 minutes, until mixture is fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
- To prepare sausage, in a large mixing bowl, with your hands or a large wooden spoon, mix together pork, cooled Smokin’ Hot Cajun Spice, and salt.
- To test seasoning, add remaining butter to a medium sauté pan, and heat. Add a small glob of sausage, flatten, and sauté until cooked through, turning once. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Taste for seasoning, and then adjust raw sausage mixture accordingly.
- To cook sausage, in the sauté pan, over medium-high heat, with a small spoon, add small globs of sausage and sauté until fat is rendered (there shouldn’t be much), and sausage is cooked through and well browned, about 5 minutes. Remove cooked sausage to a large mixing bowl.
- To prepare mushrooms, in the same pan, over medium-high heat, add a little more butter if necessary, and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms render their liquid and most of it evaporates. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove mushrooms to the large mixing bowl with the sausage.
- To prepare onion-celery mixture, in the same pan, over medium-high heat, add a little more butter if necessary, and add onions. Sauté until onions are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add celery and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add Smokin’ Cajun Spice and combine. Remove onion-celery mixture to large mixing bowl with sausage and mushrooms.
- To complete stuffing base, add dried, torn ciabatta and cornbread, and with a large mixing spoon, combine everything.
- To moisten stuffing, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs and chicken stock to combine. Pour 2 cups of this mixture, in ½ cup increments, over stuffing, and gently and thoroughly combine.
- Let mixture rest for 15 minutes or longer to allow bread to absorb the liquid. Then taste and add additional egg and chicken stock mixture, in ¼ cup increments, until the desired consistency is reached. This stuffing should be fairly wet. The eggs will prevent it from being soggy. (My bread was well dried, so I used the entire amount of egg-stock mixture.)
- Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.
- To hold until later, cover stuffing, and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve.
- To bake, heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch, 8-cup capacity, cast iron skillet (or similarly sized baking dish) and scoop the stuffing into the skillet. (If there’s extra stuffing, butter an additional baking dish, and scoop remaining stuffing into it.) Cover skillet (or baking dish) with foil, and bake for 50-60 minutes, until heated through.
- To serve, remove from the oven, and serve hot.
Makes at least one 10-inch casserole, perhaps a bit more; serves 6-8.
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Melted Leek, Green Apple & Toasted Hazelnut Dressing | LunaCafe
- Spicy Ciabatta & Cornbread Stuffing with Italian Sausage, Wild Mushrooms & Fresh Herbs | LunaCafe
- Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen | Amazon
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.