Did you hear that little “whoosh”?
Don’t be alarmed. It was just the sound of my mom’s nose turning up at the sight of this dressing.
And I am not offended. I get it. Sitting down for a holiday meal is not unlike going to a pricey big-ticket concert. You want the greatest hits, not a playlist full of debut casseroles and an experimental turkey.
A little invention is fine, but if I don’t hear my favorite song, I want my money back. And by “favorite song,” I really mean “marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes.”
But sometimes a new recipe looks too good not to try. That was the case with the Cornbread Stuffing with Andouille, Fennel and Bell Peppers from this month’s “Bon Appétit.” Cornbread tossed with chunks of andouille sausage, cubes of sweet fennel, pieces of onion and red bell pepper and a few tablespoons of fresh thyme. The mixture stays dry and crunchy on top, moist and sweet and smoky underneath. It’s a tough dish to stop picking at.
This Thanksgiving, we’ll be loading our plates with Mom’s traditional turkey and dressing, but this andouille stuffing won’t be forgotten. Jeff and I are already tinkering with the recipe to turn it into a main course.
Something with the potential to be a greatest hit.
Cornbread Stuffing with Andouille, Fennel and Bell Peppers
Adapted from “Bon Appétit” (November 2009)
- 1 1/2 pounds cornbread (roughly the amount made in a cast-iron skillet), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 12 ounces fully cooked andouille sausages (about 4), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
- 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 large egg
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Spread cornbread in single layer on large baking sheet. Bake until dry and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage pieces; sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer sausage to large bowl.
- Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, onion, and bell pepper; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add to bowl with sausage.
- Add cornbread, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to vegetable-sausage mixture; mix gently. Whisk 2 cups broth and egg in medium bowl. Add broth mixture to cornbread mixture and toss. Transfer mixture to 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
- Bake stuffing uncovered until crisp on top, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes.