Cornbread + Cornbread Stuffing

Image

I never used to be a big cornbread fan when I was younger. Since then, I’ve learned that what I am really not a fan of is the dry, crumbly cornbread. It seems that there are two main schools of thought on how cornbread “should” be: dry, crumbly, and meant for eating with soups and chili, and then the moist, sweet, dense, buttery cornbread, that can be eaten that same way but, let’s face it, is also a borderline dessert.

Turns out I didn’t know what I was missing until I tried the latter.

This is the perfect, plain old buttery cornbread recipe that can be used as a base to dress up, dress down, or leave as is. I made this cornbread a few days ahead of time to use for the cornbread stuffing I made for Thanksgiving and it worked beautifully. I also snuck a piece (or a few) right after it came out of the oven and it was exactly the way I liked my cornbread-almost a dessert but it’s called bread which makes it a perfectly reasonable accompaniment to a meal.

I’m keeping this recipe on file as a go-to cornbread recipe and I think you should too.

Image

Cornbread

Adapted from this recipe

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 2/3 cups milk (I used almond milk and it worked wonderfully)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add 2-3 tablespoons butter to an 11×7 baking pan (can use 9×13 or 8×8 but will need to adjust cooking times accordingly) and place in oven for 5 minutes, until melted. Swirl butter in pan until bottom and sides are coated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs, and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Image

Moving on to the cornbread stuffing……to make this, I used my grandmother’s classic stuffing recipe, which, in her true fashion, is not really much of a recipe at all. I actually e-mailed my mother a few days before Thanksgiving to ask for the recipe, which launched an e-mail thread between her and my aunts on how to make it, and everyone had different versions and modifications! So, I used some of those suggestions as a starting point and put my own twist on it, and it came out so good. I’m not usually huge of stuffing at Thanksgiving, but we couldn’t stop eating this.

Image

Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Sage

  • 1 batch cornbread chopped into 1 inch squares
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage

Add water to large saucepan and add celery. Bring to boil and cook until celery is softened.

While celery is cooking, heat medium skillet on medium heat and add olive oil and onion. Saute until onion is softened.  If you have a cast iron skillet, you can use this and then add all other ingredients to skillet (that is how I made this). If not, proceed with the directions below.

Crack egg in small bowl and lightly beat with fork.

Drain celery but keep celery water. Set aside.

In 9×13 pan, combine cornbread, onions, celery, chicken broth, egg, salt, pepper, and sage. Mix until saturated. Add celery water as needed, if more liquid is needed. You want the cornbread mixture to be just covered with liquid. Don’t worry if it looks like too much; it will absorb in the oven.

Cover with aluminum foil and cook on 375 for 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Image

Not the greatest photo because I was pretty much running around in my kitchen during most of Thanksgiving day….but gives you an idea, right?

And if you need any help re-purposing leftovers, we got creative last week and simply had the cornbread stuffing with leftover sweet potato casserole topped with fried eggs. So simple and delicious.

Image

Advertisements

Roasted Carrots with Fresh Sage

Image

So if you’re like me, you did all kinds of cooking over Thanksgiving and don’t really want to cook anything that requires more than using your microwave for at least a few days (I mean, obviously we have to eat all of the leftovers, right?). And if you’re like me, your husband, while grateful for all of the cooking and baking that you love to do, is not quite as grateful for the trail of dishes it leaves behind as he begrudgingly washes them as you go.

Image

True story. The night before Thanksgiving, I was debating between making dinner rolls or buttermilk biscuits because I unexpectedly had some leftover buttermilk, and when I asked him what he preferred, his response was “Do either of them use the food processor? If so, I vote for whichever one doesn’t because I hate washing it!”

That’s just what I do for Thanksgiving. I cook and bake my heart out until I’m exhausted, my back hurts, and it’s time to eat and then do nothing. And I love it.

Our dinners as of late have consisted of variations of Thanksgiving leftovers and this was a last-minute side dish so that I could say that we ate at least one vegetable as part of the meal! However, these came out so delicious and….well, beautiful, that I had to share.

This is the perfect simple, yet pretty-looking dish that presents well as a side dish at dinner parties.

I actually bought these multi-colored carrots by mistake, thinking incorrectly that I needed them to make my grandmother’s stuffing. Turns out, she doesn’t use carrots for her stuffing and I completely got that wrong! I did, however, have some leftover fresh sage from the stuffing, which worked perfectly with these roasted carrots. Just to clarify, you can use regular orange carrots as well if you can’t find the multi-colored carrots (I found them at Trader Joe’s) but pink and yellow carrots are just so pretty.

As a side note, fresh sage is my new favorite herb….it tastes amazing on roasted turkey/chicken, potatoes, STUFFING, and roasted vegetables. The dried spice does not even compare. I know it can be annoying to buy fresh herbs when it’s easier to keep the dried stuff on hand, but if you are going to splurge to buy anything fresh, buy sage. It makes a world of difference.

And who knew I’d have this much to say about carrots.

Image

Roasted Carrots with Fresh Sage

Serves 2-3

  • 6 carrots, cut into 1-2 inch “bite size” pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toss carrots in a bowl with sage, salt, and pepper. Spread onto baking sheet in single layer and bake for 20 minutes, turning them half way through.

Serve immediately!

Thanksgiving Weekend.

Image

Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Needless to say, it was a pretty great weekend of food + relaxation.

Thursday morning began with a Thanksgiving yoga class at the studio I attend. Yep, I opted for yoga instead of any turkey trotting and it was a good choice. It was a donation class and they were accepting canned goods for a local shelter, so that was very cool.

Thanksgiving dinner was spent with a good friend from work, her husband, and their young daughter. Our menu included turkey (of course!), cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, lemon garlic green beans, and homemade buttery dinner rolls. For dessert, we had apple pecan pie, chocolate buttermilk pie, and bambusa (?), a Middle Eastern inspired dessert which was basically sponge cake soaked with honey. So good. I need to get that recipe and re-create. All in all, everything was great…food and company. Jose and I always miss our respective families around Thanksgiving but it’s also become a special time to create our own traditions, or lack thereof. As we were talking about our plans for this year, we came to the realization that since moving to Kansas City, we have not done the same thing twice on Thanksgiving. And I think that’s kind of cool.

The rest of the weekend was mostly just relaxing and included watching the entire first season of Boardwalk Empire (so good-and so addicting!), seeing Thor, decorating for Christmas, and doing just a teeny tiny bit of shopping.

It’s always exceptionally difficult to return to work after an extended weekend, but at least we are only 3 weeks away from more time off at Christmas.

I hope you all had a wonderful (and relaxing!) Thanksgiving!