Friday, November 22, 2013

Cornbread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Leeks and Chanterelles

Cornbread Stuffing is a constant staple on our Thanksgiving menu even if the turkey is not!! This year I perused a number of cookbooks and magazine for ideas to make it even tastier. I was challenged by the fact Thanksgiving dinner would be not be hosted at my house. I wanted to break it down to a number of make ahead components especially since I like to make everything from scratch including roasting those chestnuts! 

Easy Savory Cornbread
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooked
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk 
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 8x 8 baking dish. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl (medium size) whisk eggs, buttermilk and whole milk together.Whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Mixture will be slightly lumpy. Mix in 3 Tbsp. melted butter.

Scape batter into creased baking dish and bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be slightly springy and edges pulled away from sides approximately 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Chestnuts
Preheat oven to 425F. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Meanwhile prepare chestnuts. Place chestnut flat side down on cutting board. Carefully cut an X through the shell on the rounded side of the chestnut. Soak the chestnut in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and place in a single layer in the center of foil. Gather up the edges to around the chestnut, leaving a large opening in center. Bake in oven approximately 35 minutes. Cool and remove shell. Break or chop into large pieces.

Stuffing Ingredients 

8 cups 1/2" cubes cornbread
1 lb roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped

1 lb Chanterelles mushrooms

1 shallot, finely diced
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb hot Italian sausage

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter; 8 Tbsp for sauteing and 2 Tbsp cubed (reserved)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium leek, halved and sliced4 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Bosc pear, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
6 pieces fresh sage leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp dried  oregano
1 tsp dried majoram
2 cups low -sodium chicken broth
3 large eggs
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300F. Divide cornbread cubes between 2 rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown,25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool. May be prepared 2-3 days ahead. Keep in air tight container to keep the cubes crunchy.

Clean Chanterelle mushroom, cutting each mushroom to 2-3 pieces each. Saute finely diced shallots in 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat until soften. Add prepared Chanterelle mushroom, cooking until it has releases it juices. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until juices are reabsorbed and Chanterelles are golden brown and tender. Set aside to cool. May be prepared 2-3 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using in stuffing.

Remove the casing from the hot italian sausage. Cook the sausage meat over medium high heat in a large skillet. Break up the sausage meat into smaller pieces. Cook until well brown. Remove cooked sausage pieces to a small to cool. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and heat up 8 Tbsp butter in same skillet. Add leeks, onions, garlic and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add pears and 1/2 cup broth. Cook until most of broth has been absorbed. 

Transfer cooked mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add cooked sausage and Chanterelle mushrooms, and the herbs; parsley, sage and Marjoram. Next add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and the cornbread cubes. Toss to combine. Leave aside for 10 minutes to let mixture absorb the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth if required. The mixture should be very moist but still allow the cornbread to barely hold its shape. It should be moist but not soggy. Beat up 3 whole eggs and add to mixture together with roasted chestnut and mix gently to combine. Spoon into a buttered/prepared pan. Scatter butter cubes (2 Tbsp) over the top of stuffing. Cover pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes before removing foil cover. Continue baking for a further 30 minutes until golden brown.

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