Cornbread Fruit and Chestnut Stuffing

For a 16- to 20-pound turkey

9-inch square pan of stale cornbread (1 recipe), cut into 1/2-inch dice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
¼ cup raisins
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped
5 shallots, chopped
½ pound lean fresh sausage meat, crumbled
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tightly-packed tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tightly-packed teaspoons each fresh thyme and oregano, chopped
¼ cup honey
1 tart apple, cored and chopped
1 pound chestnuts, roasted and shelled, or jarred ones with no liquid
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 – 3 cups chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Cornbread:

3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups buttermilk
4 eggs - beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted

If cornbread is fresh, toast in a low oven about 30 minutes. Soak apricots and raisins in wine for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, celery and shallot until soft. Add sausage and sauté until cooked through. Pour off all but a little of the fat. Stir in garlic, spices and herbs. Cook 1 minute. Stir in honey and the wine/fruit mixture and cook over high heat for two minutes. Remove from heat.

Turn mixture in skillet into a bowl and add remaining ingredients except for the chicken stock. Add enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing, using you best judgement. Season to taste.

I prefer to roast my turkey un-stuffed and heat my stuffing in a greased casserole in a 350 degree oven until hot through. Be sure to cover the casserole with buttered foil to prevent the stuffing from sticking to the foil.

For Cornbread: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9” x 13” baking pan.

Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

Mix buttermilk, eggs and butter together. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into prepared pan: bake cornbread until firm to touch - about 30 - 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cube enough cornbread to prepare the recipe and reserve the rest of the cornbread to serve with your dinner.


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