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Stuffing always seems to be one of the favorite dishes at Thanksgiving and other dinners where turkey stars.

 

In this blog and in the print edition of The Billings Gazette, we’ve been offering some ideas for expanding your stuffing repertoire. In addition to giving new options for your holiday meals, the recipes are good for stretching your food budget.

 

Using meat or vegetable broth, you can cook stuffing inside a bird or butterflied pork chops, spiraled into well-pounded meats or just in a baking dish. And stuffing is great for a side dish with almost any meal.

The Wednesday, Nov. 19, print edition of the paper features a California-inspired recipe for Sourdough Bread Stuffing with Artichokes & Sun-Dried Tomatoes on its Food pages.

 

For another option, consider the following recipe with a Southern influence provided by The Associated Press:

Cornbread dressing offers a taste of the South

Associated Press

To get the 4 tablespoons of bacon fat called for in this Southern-style dressing, cut five slices of bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and cook until crisp.

 

Reserve the bacon for another use.

 

This dressing recipe is from Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s “The Gift of Southern Cooking” (Knopf, 2003).

CORNBREAD-PECAN DRESSING

 

Start to finish: 2-1/2 hours (45 minutes active)

For the cornbread:

2 cups white cornmeal

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

For the dressing:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

4 tablespoons bacon fat

3 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)

4 to 5 stalks celery with fine leaves, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rubbed sage

3 cups pecan halves, toasted

1 cup chicken stock, or more as needed

4 eggs, slightly beaten

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

 

To make the cornbread, heat the oven to 450 F.

 

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In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt and baking soda. Whisk in the buttermilk and eggs. Set aside.

 

Place the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Place the skillet or pan in the oven until the butter melts and bubbles. Remove the pan from oven, and swirl the butter to coat, then pour it into the batter.

 

Mix the melted butter into the batter, then transfer the batter to the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown and crusty. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

 

Tear the cooled cornbread into large (1-1/2-inch) pieces and allow to sit, uncovered, overnight to dry out. Alternately, you can put the cornbread pieces on a baking sheet in a warm oven for 30 minutes to dry out.

 

To make the dressing, heat the oven to 325 F. Lightly oil or butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch casserole dish.

 

In a heavy skillet over medium, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and the bacon fat. Add the onions, celery and shallots and saute for 5 minutes.

 

Add the thyme and sage, then cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes.

 

In a large bowl, toss the cornbread pieces with the toasted pecans halves and the cooked vegetables.

 

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, then whisk it together with the broth and eggs. Pour this mixture over the dressing and toss well to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Transfer the dressing to the prepared casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until golden brown, about another 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Makes 14 servings.

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