Cornbread and Chestnut Stuffing
- One large homemade or store-bought cornbread (about a 13 x 9 inch pan’s worth), preferably not too sweet
- One regular loaf of country white bread in thick slices
- 2 large onions, minced
- 4 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons extra
- One and a half teaspoons dried sage
- One 14 to 16-ounce jar of peeled chestnuts (Roland brand is available in many stores), each cut into 4 pieces
- One and a half cups of pecan pieces, toasted if you’d like (about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F)
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, heated
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
1) The day before, cut the cornbread and white bread in one-inch cubes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread and cornbread cubes on two baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the cubes dry out a bit. Take the baking sheets out of the oven and let the bread cool, then put the cubes in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
2) The next day, saute the onions and celery in the melted butter with the sage until very soft. Add to the bread cubes, along with the chopped chestnuts and pecans. Add some salt and a fair amount of pepper. Then add 2 cups of the hot stock and mix well. The mixture should be moist but not soggy. If it needs more liquid, add up to another cup of stock. Taste for salt. You can set it aside until you’re ready to bake.
3) If you’d like to add the eggs, stir them gently into the stuffing mixture. Spread the mixture in a large greased baking dish, dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees F for half an hour, then uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, until lightly browned.