Cornbread stuffing from scratch – Part I, Cornbread
Thankgiving is my favorite holiday. You’ve gotta love a day that celebrates no organized religion in particular, is marked by an abundance of food (some of it actually good), and always falls on a Thursday so it’s a four-day weekend. But there is one thing (ok, several, but just one that I’ll talk about here) about this holiday that drives me crazy: bread stuffing in a box.
Seriously? That’s almost as pathetic as pancake mix. If you can read, you can make stuffing from scratch. So in keeping with the spirit of this blog, we will show you how to make cornbread stuffing from scratch. Because cornbread stuffing is my favorite. And since our company started making roasted cornmeal, we have a ton of cornmeal at our disposal. If you’re interested in knowing more about our roasted corn products, read about them HERE.
Any great bread stuffing starts with great bread. So Part I of our post will make the cornbread. On Wednesday, we’ll turn it into stuffing. Here are some important notes about the recipe to follow: First, this is a Thanksgiving day crowd quantity. It’s 3x the normal recipe. Second, I use cookie sheets (and a lower oven temperature) when I bake cornbread especially for stuffing, because it’s thinner and stales more quickly. If you want to make just a plain old eating cornbread, modify the instructions below as follows: reduce ingredients (divide by 3), raise oven temp to 450F, and bake in an 8 x 8 baking dish.
Also, a plug for one of my favorite food books of all time: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison, from which comes my favorite cornbread recipe. Yes, I said it, I used a recipe. The devil just shivered. People who know me know that I hate cookbooks. Books about food, I love. Cookbooks, I hate. With two exceptions. One of course, is Julia. The original Julia, not all that mass-market crap they talked her into doing in the 90’s. The other one is this particular Madison volume. It was introduced to me by a long-dead friend who was vegetarian (thanks Paul, miss you buddy!). The book is full of great ideas and helpful techniques, one worthy of space on your shelf. And after about 13 years of cooking from this book, I’ve come to value my margin notes as much as the book itself.
Here’s what you’ll need to do a big batch of stuffing cornbread:
3 cups flour
3 cups roasted cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP baking powder
3/4 cup oil
3 cups milk
6 TBSP honey
6 eggs (ours couldn’t make the photo shoot)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Dump half the oil on one cookie sheet, the other half on a second sheet, and place them in the oven to warm while you make the batter.
Blend the dry ingredients well. Mix the wet ingredients well. Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients well. Remove the cooking sheets from the oven. Swish the oil around to coat the sheet, then dump the excess into the batter and stir quickly to blend well (if you’re slow the hot oil will start to cook the batter, not the end of the world, right?). Pour half the batter onto each cookie sheet and roughly level it with a spatula. Pop both sheets in the oven. Rotate the sheets and switch their positions about 10 minutes into baking. Start checking for done at about 15 minutes (insert toothpick in thickest part, when it comes out clean, it’s done). They should be ready in less than 20 minutes.
Allow to cool, then cut into 2″ pieces and put in a bowl, uncovered, to stale for a couple days.
We’ll be back on Wednesday with how to turn it into stuffing.