Since we weren’t going to be traveling home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Clare, Ned’s sister, who always host Thanksgiving, thought it would be nice if I came up with a bread stuffing recipe that she could prepare and serve as a way for us to be at her dinner in spirit. I thought it was an awesome idea and I came up with this. This stuffing has it all! It has sweetness from the cornbread and dried fruits, spiciness and kick from the chorizo and candied ginger, and it’s gluten-free!
I think homemade cornbread is always best. You can find my gluten-free cornbread recipe here.
Sweet & Spicy Cornbread Stuffing
Makes about 10-12 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cup cured Spanish chorizo
2 medium onions, diced, about 3 cups
2-4 celery stalks, chopped, about 2 cups
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
¼ cup fresh sage, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons orange liqueur
1 tablespoon whiskey
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup dried dates, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup dried figs, hard tips removed and roughly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup candied ginger (not in syrup), roughly chopped
1½ cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
12 cups dried cornbread cubes, cut into (¾ – 1’” cubes) preferably homemade, recipe here
4 cups chicken broth, heated and divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Start by combining the apricots, dates, figs and cranberries in a small mixing bowl. Add the orange liqueur, whiskey and 1 cup of the heated broth to the bowl. Allow the dried fruits to marinate and soften.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil and chorizo in a medium sauté pan, then turn the heat to medium. Starting with a cold pan will ensure that the chorizo oozes its spicy orange oil as it slowly heats up, rather than sear its edges as it would when added to a hot pan. After 3-5 minutes, once the chorizo has rendered a good bit of its flavorful oil raise the heat to medium-high and add the onions, celery, crushed red pepper, paprika, thyme, sage, 1 teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper to the pan. Stir and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Once the onions are translucent, add the remaining 3 cups of heated chicken stock to the pan. Reduce the heat to a low and allow the pan to simmer for 5 minutes.
Place the cornbread cubes into a large mixing bowl. To the cornbread add the candied ginger, pecans and the small mixing bowl of dried fruit and all of the soaking liquid. Then, add all of the onions and chorizo and most of the stock, leaving about 1 cup of stock remaining in the pan. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt then gently stir to combine the ingredients. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Add the remaining chicken stock if you feel the stuffing is too dry. Pour the stuffing into a 9 x 12 baking dish and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
To make this ahead of time, prepare everything in advance, up until baking. Store, unbaked and covered with foil, in the fridge up to two days in advance and bake as directed on the day of your dinner.