Stuffing that I Like
Okay, lets begin by saying that everyone on the planet loved my Granny's dressing. Raw, cooked, everyone LOVED it. When she passed away the hunt began for something approaching her style of dressing. I guess my aunts have pretty much got it down by now. But... I have a confession to make... I couldn't STAND my Granny's dressing. I thought it was fairly nasty, actually. Too dense, too much sage, and I don't know... I just never liked it. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, I don't know. What I do know is that it made me find some other way to make it. So I did. And here is my little tutorial for my style dressing/stuffing:
1/2 of an 8" skillet of cornbread, crumbled (recipe follows)
1 6 ounce box of chicken or turkey flavored Stove Top Stuffing bread crumbs
1 15 ounce can chicken broth
1/4 cup butter (olive oil, margarine...)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole kernel corn (fresh, canned, frozen, whatever)
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons or more minced green chili pepper
Put everything into a large bowl, mix thoroughly. Spread into large casserole or baking dish (about 9x13 inches or so).
Do not press the stuffing hard into the pan, just smooth it out evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees until the corners get browned and crunchy (I like the crunchies). About 30-40 minutes.
As you can see, this stuffing is nice and light and fluffy. The additions are wonderful and give plenty of texture and taste. *Tip: use whatever additions seem good to you. Dried apples and walnuts; almonds and cherries or blueberries... whatever sounds good or maybe is a "traditional" flavor in your area.
This is my most favorite mix, tho. I love the sweet-tart of the cranberries, the heat of the chilis, the nuttiness of the pecans and the down home flavor of the corn which helps brighten and freshen the flavor of the cornbread. I think it's a fairly nice combo of "American" flavors.
Okay... here's the cornbread recipe. And damn if I don't make good cornbread (even if I do say so myself)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups fine yellow cornmeal (white if you just have to...)
1/4 cup sugar (or more to your taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 to 1 cup regular milk
1 cup pork cracklins (chicharrones), crushed if they are large ones
In large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Make a well, drop in the oil and eggs. Beat the eggs slightly (don't beat them into the flour/meal yet). Add the milk, both kinds and whisk until smooth. Add the cracklins*. Let the batter sit while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees or 400 (depends on if your oven burns hot or low). Put a tablespoon or two of butter and of oil into an 8 inch cast iron skillet and put it in the oven while it preheats. When the oven is hot, remove the skillet and swirl the oil around to coat the sides. Add the batter all at once and return to the oven. Bake for half an hour or so or until a knife comes out clean. (push the knife blade in about halfway between the edge of the pan and the center)
*If your cracklins are especially hard, you can soak them in the milk for a while before adding them and the milk to your batter.
This recipe makes damned good cornbread. Try it with honey and butter for dessert. Keep out a little bit of batter and add dried blueberries to it and make cornmeal muffins... anyway... this is better for making stuffing if you keep a batch in the freezer for a few weeks before you make it. But then... every southern cook keeps cornbread in the freezer, don't they?