Cornbread Stuffing with Apple and Fennel

Cornbread Stuffing with Apple and Fennel

This quintessential side dish has its historical roots in the thrifty recipes to stretch day-old dry bread into one more meal. Here we turn tradition once again on its head and give the classic stuffing a whole new dimension by preparing it with homemade cornbread and making it gluten free to boot!

2 1/2 Tbsp (37 mL) coconut oil, melted, or grapeseed oil, divided
2 cups (500 mL) organic fine yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sodium-free baking powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) natural cane sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) buttermilk
4 large free-range eggs, divided
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 large leeks, trimmed, rinsed, and diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup (250 mL) diced celery
1 cup (250 mL) diced fennel
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh sage
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme
2 cups (500 mL) chopped Granny Smith apple
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

The day before

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease 9 in (23 cm) square baking pan with 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) oil and set in oven to warm while preheating.

In bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cayenne (if using). With wooden spoon, stir in 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, buttermilk, 2 eggs, green onion, and corn until just combined. Dollop batter into warmed baking pan and bake cornbread until firm and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on wire rack before unmoulding. Cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes and allow to dry at room temperature overnight in single layer on a baking tray.

The next day

Preheat oven once again to 350 F (180 C).

In large saucepan, warm remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium heat. Add leeks and bay leaf and sauté until leeks are starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in celery, fennel, garlic, and chipotle chili and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until celery and fennel have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, sage, thyme, and apple before tipping mixture into large bowl. Add cornbread cubes and toss to combine. Discard bay leaf.

Whisk together broth and remaining 2 eggs before pouring over cornbread mixture, gently tossing until moistened. Transfer to 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) baking dish and bake, uncovered, until top has lightly browned and sides are dry and crisp, about 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 12.

Each serving contains: 184 calories; 7 g protein; 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 28 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 3 g fibre); 360 mg sodium 

Stuffing savvy

Ensure this beloved side dish is cooked to perfection by keeping in mind a few pointers for sensational baked stuffing every time.

  • To achieve a moister stuffing, bake covered before uncovering for the last five minutes of baking.
  • For a drier stuffing, just bake uncovered.
  • The depth of the baking dish used will also affect the final texture. A deep baking dish will yield moister stuffing, while a shallow casserole-style dish will result in a crisper and drier stuffing.

source: “Sensational Sides“, alive #386, December 2014

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