Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

I grew up eating Stove Top stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Stove Top. It is easy to prepare and very tasty. But 10 years ago I wanted to try a new stuffing recipe. I found a corn bread stuffing recipe attached to a Cornish game hen recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (page 411 of the 1996 version).  Whoa. Seriously, I crave this corn bread stuffing more than turkey, more than mashed potatoes. This dish is my favorite part of the meal. I make my version of this recipe every holiday since. It’s a family favorite.

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

The original recipe calls for chopped sweet green pepper and dried currants or raisins. I omit those, but you can certainly add them back in. I also (roughly) triple the ingredients. I love this recipe because it’s easy to make a day or two before the big meal and the flavors are heavenly paired with roasted turkey. I mean, really—toasted pecans, green onions, and fresh sage—unbelievably packed with flavor. The picture shows the stuffing before baking. It browns up a little more after baking. Here is my adapted version.

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

Ingredients

–          About 6-8 cups crumbled corn bread. (I use three boxes of the classic Jiffy corn bread mix. If you use that mix, make sure you have a cup of milk and 3 eggs on hand. You can use any corn bread mix, but I like the Jiffy mix because it’s fairly dry and easy to crumble for the stuffing.)

–          1 ½ cups chopped, toasted pecans (I toast the pecans on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for 10 minutes)

–          ½ cup fresh chopped sage (you have to use fresh, you really do)

–          1 cup sliced green onions (roughly 2 bunches of green onions)

–          ¼ cup melted butter

–          1 can (14.5 ounces of chicken broth) [I use Swanson’s low sodium version]

Directions

–          Bake corn bread according to package directions. Set aside and cool. (For 3 Jiffy mixes, I divide the corn bread batter and pour 2/3 into a 9×13 pan and the remaining batter in a 9×9 pan. Spray both baking dishes with cooking spray. I use PAM.)

–          Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

–          Slice the green onions and snip the fresh sage.

–          In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, pecans, onions, and sage. Pour the chicken broth over the dry ingredients.

–          Melt the butter and drizzle the butter over the mixture. Mix well and spoon into a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover the dish and chill overnight. You can make the dish at least a day in advance.

–          When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Bake covered for about 35 minutes.

I serve the stuffing with a traditional turkey dinner. But I’ll be honest with you. I would eat this as a main dish any day of the week. I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and here is our menu for 5 adults and two children:

–          Turkey seasoned with fresh rosemary under the skin, and rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I use my mom’s trick of stuffing the cavity with sliced onions, lemons, and oranges.

–          Mashed potatoes

–          Dinner rolls (I make Rhodes white dinner rolls)

–          Cranberry sauce (the jellied, sugary kind where you can still see the can indentations)

–          Sweet potatoes (this year I’m trying the whipped bourbon bacon sweet potatoes from How Sweet It Is. So excited!!!)

–          Pumpkin pie (I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust and Moosewood Cookbook’s no-fault pumpkin pie recipe on pg 203)

–          Green bean casserole with the crunchy fried onions on top

–          Relish tray (pickles, olives, red and green pepper slices, and carrot sticks)

 

What’s on your holiday menu? Enjoy your time with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!