- Sylvester (Crackers) Graham born (1794)
3-Pepper Sausage Cornbread Dressing
For the cornbread
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 3 Cups milk
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- One 10-ounce package frozen organic corn kernels
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the stuffing
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 Pound andouille sausage, or fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage
- 2 red or orange bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
- 2 poblano or Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
- 2 Cups chicken stock
- Loaf cornbread, cut into cubes
Here is a recipe I adapted from the cooking of Kurt Gardner, a New York theater man of great culinary passions who has been contributing the dish to our home for years, usually in proportions large enough to feed boroughs. Rare is the month where there is not a frozen bag of this stuff in our freezer, ready to be deployed.
For the cornbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 12-by-8-by-2-inch pan, and place it in the oven to heat.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, add the corn, and stir until just combined. Add the butter and stir once or twice to incorporate.
Remove the hot skillet or pan from the oven, pour batter into it, and give the whole number a smack on the counter to settle it. Put pan in oven to cook until mixture is brown on top and a sharp knife inserted into its center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour. Cornbread can, indeed should, be made ahead of time. If it is slightly stale at the start of the process, so much the better — the dried cornbread leads to a fluffier dressing.
For the stuffing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in large flat-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
Add onion to the pan and reduce heat to medium, then sauté until onion begins to turn clear and soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add celery and peppers and continue cooking until peppers begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes.
Pour vegetable mixture into bowl with sausage, add chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to mix.
Return pan to heat and deglaze with a splash of chicken stock, then scrape contents into bowl with sausage and vegetable mixture.
Pour mixture into a large roasting pan and add cubed cornbread, mixing by hand. Add chicken stock to moisten, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until it is soft and the flavors well incorporated. If you desire a crunchy top, remove foil for final 10 minutes of cooking. Dressing can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. If dry upon reheating, add additional chicken stock.
Reprinted with permission from Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton and Sarah Rutherford, copyright © 2012. Published by Random House, a division of Random House, Inc.