This is the only stuffing we’ve ever served at Thanksgiving at my family’s house growing up. I’ll have to follow up with my mom on which newspaper printed the original clip she cut out and saved, but I hope I find out so I can thank them! It has long been my favorite part of the holiday table and the thing I go to first when it’s time to plate up leftovers.
Stuffing or dressing is sort of a fascinating thing, right? Every family has their go to, whether or not the mixture actually goes inside the turkey (I advise against this, for the record!). My mom even says the one her mother made had… oysters in it? I’ve never really been around any other type of stuffing than the one we make, which is fairly humble, but is really truly the perfect thing for soaking everything else on the plate up! It’s savory, but the cornbread has an inherent sweetness to it. It’s got warm autumny flavors with the pecans and parsley. It’s crumbly and moist at the same time. And best of all, it reheats beautifully and is the perfect conveyor for gravy, in my opinion.
So while it might look simple, or possibly underwhelming, it’s been a big hit year after year and has been the one thing I’ll consistently bring to Friendgivings when I haven’t been able to travel home. One year I even brought it to a big thanksgiving dinner and had one of the attendees beg for the recipe as well as take home a whole container of the leftovers. In any case, it’s what tastes most like home and the holidays to me, so I hope you’ll give this a try and enjoy it as much as we have over the years!
Tips: 1) You can bake the cornbread in advance, crumble it, and leave it overnight. A dryer crumb adds to the texture once everything is absorbed. 2) I pulsed my carrots and celery in my food processor to get a finely minced vegetable mix, then used the same processor to chop the pecans. This speeds up the process a lot! 3) Use the biggest bowl you have for the mixing process. It always makes a mess for me, but I only have a smallish set of mixing bowl, d’oh! 4) This can totally be vegetarian and/or vegan. The Jiffy box mix has directions for baking vegan cornbread with substitute suggestions. After that, simply use vegetable stock and use your favorite non dairy butter substitute instead of regular butter.
Corn Bread Stuffing
3 8.5 ounce boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 cup of milk
1 cup of chopped pecans, toasted if preferred
1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 + 2 TB chopped parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 + 1/2 stick of butter or 12 TB, melted
1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
First, prepare your boxed cornbread mix as per the packages instructions. Stir the cornbread mix and the eggs and milk together gently, and bake in a greased pan until a toothpick can be pulled clean out of the bread. If you want to use your own cornbread recipe, feel free! It’s also advisable to bake the cornbread in advance, as letting the crumbled bread dry overnight adds to the texture.
Once the cornbread is completely cooled, crumble the cornbread up into small pieces/crumbs.
On the stove sauté the carrot and celery in a little bit of butter until they soften, about 8 minutes on low to medium heat.
Meanwhile, chop the scallions and parsley and set aside. You could also chop the pecans at this stage, or toast them lightly and then chop them.
Once everything is ready to be assembled mix the cornbread crumbles with the carrots and celery, parsley and scallions, the dried thyme, and the pecans. Season with salt and pepper.
Once everything is fully incorporated, stir in the melted butter and stock.
Stir until combined and place in a suitable baking dish. Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, until warmed through. I like to wait for the cornbread mixture to get a little color on the edges, but that’s just my taste.
That’s it! Serve warm and enjoy!