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Jalapeño, Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

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CornbreadStuffingThis stuffing was adapted from Women’s Day. I added minced jalapeños and chopped pecans to add a bit of local flavor.  If you purchase an already-made cornbread, or use boxed cornbread mix, remember that it might be sweet — unsweetened cornbread would be better in this savory dressing.

Jalapeño, Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

1 box cornbread mix, prepared,  or your own recipe for cornbread that makes a 9-by-9-inch pan
1 cup herbed dry bread stuffing mix or 4 slices stale or dried white or wheat bread, cut into ½-inch dice
¾ pound country sausage
1-2 large jalapeños, seeded and chopped fine
2 cups sliced celery
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 large twigs of fresh thyme, just the leaves or 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
1 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted in skillet until fragrant
6 tablespoons butter, melted
16 ounces chicken broth (half of a carton of broth, or 2 cups)
3 large eggs, beaten
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a 1 ½ quart baking dish, lightly buttered. (If using to stuff a turkey or crown roast of pork, see note below.)

Cut cornbread (slightly dried, either in the oven or left out overnight) in medium dice (about ¾ inch) and put into a very large bowl. Add the dry bread mix. Cook the sausage, crumbling it in the skillet, along with the minced jalapeño, until sausage is just cooked through. Add this mixture to the bread in the bowl.

Add a little cooking oil or oil spray to the pan you just used and sauté the celery and onion for a few minutes, until the onion is tender. Add this mixture to the bowl. Add the sage, thyme, parsley and pecan pieces to the bowl. Very gently, with your hands, mix the ingredients. Pour over the melted butter and the broth, then add the three large beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper, to taste. (I would add at least one generous tablespoon of kosher salt. Now, mix again, gently but thoroughly. (I like to keep some of the cornbread in cubes, as the dressing looks nicer, though much of it disintegrates when you put in the liquid ingredients.)

Scrape into the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake about 30 minutes. Take the foil off and bake another 10 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Note: If you are using this stuffing in a Crown Roast of Pork, put as much of it as you can into the center of the roast, mounding it up slightly. The dressing supports the racks and helps the roast stay round. Cover the stuffing with a piece of foil as you cook the roast. Take it off about 15 minutes before the roast is done so that it will brown. Put any additional stuffing into a baking pan and cook it separately.

Makes about 10 servings.

Adapted from Women’s Day/Bonnie Walker

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