Things I learned about the art of making stuffing:
1. Don’t be stubborn about not toasting your bread. I obviously just wanted to stale my bread, thinking that this would result in a much more authentic stuffing. I cubed up my corn muffins, spread them out on a baking sheet and stuck it in the oven to dry out. While preheating the oven for a delightfully simple yet delicious apple tart (which will be posted tomorrow), I forgot about the cornbread. I was just thinking that my kitchen surprisingly smells wonderful, when I realized that corn muffins were burning. I took them out just in time. And it turns out that toasting the muffins added a lovely crunch to the stuffing that I quite appreciated. Toast the bread.
2. When in doubt, add more seasoning. Stuffing is a weird, tricky beast. You have all of these competing flavors, but you just may not have enough salt. And there is absolutely no way to tell! Because you try everything separately, but never together. Especially when you have raw eggs mixed in! Season the sauteed veggies, and the roasted potatoes, and the egg mixture. Because otherwise, you have a whole lotta flavorless stuffing, which is just bad news bears.
3. If you are vegetarian, don’t add fake sausage. It turns purple. A very off-putting purple. I mean, just don’t do it.
4. I still don’t get stuffing. I just don’t understand it. And though my first taste of it, and my first attempt at making it was successful, it’s just a bunch of random things thrown in a casserole over soggy bread. But that’s exactly why it’s completely brilliant too! How can it not taste great?! So as long as everything on its own is delicious, your stuffing will probably be too.
Stuffing (adapted from a-many google searches on stuffing)
1 recipe corn muffins, cut into small cubes and toasted for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven
3 tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped into the same size as onions
1 apple, cored and diced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 sweet potato, seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
Place the cubed and toasted cornbread into a large bowl. To it, add the cranberries, pecans, sweet potatoes, and parsley. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large casserole dish with butter. Over medium heat, melt the 3 tbsp. butter and sautee the onions and celery until soft and lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mixture to the cornbread. Stir to combine.
Whisk together the eggs, cream and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the cornbread mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Pour everything into the prepared casserole dish and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is nice and toasty.