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Cherry Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

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Sausage, dried cherries, prunes, and sage perk up this cornbread stuffing. Dried cranberries may be substituted for all of the dried fruit, if you wish.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 recipes Country Cornbread (below), prepared 1 day ahead and left, loosely wrapped, at room temperature, about 12 cups
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds bulk pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 6 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups defatted chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes. You should have about 12 cups. Place the cubes in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the thyme, and salt and pepper. Toss well. Spread the cubes out on two baking sheets. Bake until slightly toasted, 15 minutes. Return the cubes to the bowl.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until cooked through and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. (Pour off the fat if too much of it accumulates during cooking.) Using a slotted spoon, add the meat to the bowl with the cornbread (breaking the meat up more if necessary).

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook the onions and celery over medium-low heat, stirring until wilted, 10 minutes. Then stir in the cherries and prunes, and cook another 5 minutes. Fold the mixture into the cornbread.

Using a rubber spatula, toss the remaining 2 tablespoons thyme, the sage, and parsley with the cornbread. Slowly drizzle in the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stuffing is moist to your liking. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Cool completely to room temperature before stuffing the turkey.

Yield: 16 cups; enough for a 20 to 24-pound turkey.

Author's Note: Cook the stuffing in the turkey. Any extra can be cooked in an ovenproof dish, covered, at 350 degreed F. for 20 to 25 minutes.

• Country Cornbread Recipe

Source: Sheila Lukins U.S.A. Cookbook by Sheila Lukins (Workman Publishing)
Reprinted with permission.

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