Cornbread Stuffing with Zesty Sausage & Pancetta

Cornbread Stuffing

I know Thanksgiving is over but people tend to eat similar meals for Christmas, right?  Well, maybe not whole turkeys but stuffing and mashed potatoes are still pretty popular.  Today I’m going to share the stuffing that Jon and I (mostly Jon) made for our Thanksgiving dinner this year.

I don’t know about you but I’ve NEVER been a fan of stuffing… I’ve always thought of it as soggy bland bread (gross) so I’ve never been one to add it to my plate.  Starting this year, I’ve got a whole new appreciation for it and if Jon makes this dish every year, I’ll be going back for seconds every time. 🙂

So if you’re looking for another side dish to add to your Christmas feast or if you’re just looking for a dinner idea (it’s got bread, vegetables, and meat!), this one’s for you!

Happy holidays!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F) and lightly grease a 4 or 5 quart baking dish.  I’m warning you now, there’s a lot of prep work involved – mostly chopping and dicing but the end result will be worth it – Added bonus, this recipe makes a lot (aka leftovers!).

Dice your red onion and celery stalks.  Chop your green bell pepper and set all 3 ingredients aside.

Cornbread Stuffing_3 Prepped Bowls

Next up, chop your pancetta into small bite size pieces.  Set aside.

Tip:  Bacon would serve as a great (and cheaper) substitute.

Cornbread Stuffing_Pancetta

In a large skillet over medium heat, break up and start browning your sausage roll.  Once it’s almost browned (about 4-5 minutes), add your chopped pancetta.  When your sausage is done browning (2-3 more minutes), add your onion, celery, green bell pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cornbread Stuffing_Sausage Mix

Cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.  When the vegetables are tender, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat.

Cornbread Stuffing_With Broth

In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs and parsley together.

Cornbread Stuffing_Egg Mix

Add the cubed cornbread and cubed french bread.  Using a large spoon, carefully toss the bread cubes in the egg mixture.

Tip:  For the cornbread, Jon and I made a Krusteaz boxed mix a few days prior to when we were going to make the stuffing.  For the french bread, we bought a loaf at the grocery store and let it go stale for a couple of days.  Having stale bread cubes is key because you want them to be slightly dried out so they absorb the mixture.  If you forget to let your bread go stale, just cut it into cubes and roast it in a 300 degree (F) oven for 5-10 minutes.

Cornbread Stuffing_Bread Cubes

Slowly and carefully pour the warm mixture from the skillet over the bread cubes.  Use the large spoon to carefully toss the bread cubes again.

Transfer the entire mixture to your prepared baking dish.

Cornbread Stuffing_Preoven

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.  The stuffing is done when the bread cubes are crisp and the edges are just starting to brown slightly.  We suggest serving this warm!

Tip:  This dish can be made a day ahead of time!  We made it the day before Thanksgiving then just popped it back into a 350 degree (F) oven for 25 minutes.

Cornbread Stuffing_2

Cornbread Stuffing with Zesty Sausage & Pancetta

Inspired by Food Network

Serves 8-10 (as a side dish), 4-6 (as a dinner)

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/4lb pancetta (1/4″ thick slices)
  • 1 roll of Zesty Sausage (like Bob Evan’s)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 cups stale cornbread cubes
  • 8 cups stale french bread cubes

What to Do

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F) and lightly grease a 4 or 5 quart baking dish.
  2. Dice the red onion and celery stalks.  Set aside.
  3. Chop the green bell pepper.  Set aside.
  4. Chop the pancetta into small bite size pieces.  Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, break up and start browning your sausage roll.
  6. Once it’s almost browned (about 4-5 minutes), add your chopped pancetta.
  7. When your sausage is done browning (2-3 more minutes), add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, thyme, 1/4 cup of parsley, salt and pepper.
  8. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. When the vegetables are tender, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and remaining parsley together.
  11. Add the stale cubed cornbread and stale cubed french bread.  Using a large spoon, carefully toss the bread cubes in the egg mixture
  12. Slowly and carefully pour the warm mixture from the skillet over the bread cubes.  Use the large spoon to carefully toss the bread cubes again.
  13. Transfer the entire mixture to your prepared baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  14. After 30 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.  The stuffing is done when the bread cubes are crisp and the edges are just starting to brown slightly.

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26 thoughts on “Cornbread Stuffing with Zesty Sausage & Pancetta

  1. That looks SUPER delicious–I love the flecks of bell pepper in there. I bow down to your cooking skills. Nothing that I cook in the kitchen ever comes out this photogenic! I literally want to dive into that crusty-topped last photo. Yummm!!

    • Haha, you are being way way wayyy too nice – everything that you cook in your kitchen comes out looking gorgeous!

      I think I remember you saying you follow a Pescatarian diet? This recipe was pulled from the Food Network and was actually originally made with shrimp and ham (instead of sausage and pancetta) so you could easily remove the sausage and pancetta and use shrimp instead. The original recipe also used Old Bay in place of the Italian seasoning we used. Just a thought! 🙂

      • Oh my gosh you’re the best!!! I didn’t even think to look at the original recipe, but that would be perfect! It turns out my family is hosting Christmas this year, so I will definitely keep this in mind for our big family meal, thanks!!

  2. Yum!!! Love that you can make this a day ahead! For some reason I never do- but that’s really smart. I’ll be sharing my stuffing recipe on Wednesday actually- my brother is coming home for the holidays, so I’m surprising him with his favourite meal!
    -JulieC

    • I have to admit, Jon thought it tasted slightly better on the day it was made but if you don’t tell anyone that, I’m sure they’d love it the next day because it’s still REALLY good.

      That’s so nice you’re doing that for your brother – I’m sure he’ll really appreciate it. I can’t wait to see your recipe tomorrow. 🙂 Happy holidays!

  3. This looks really good! Thanks for posting. I’ve always been curious about cornbread stuffing, but have never tried it because I didn’t think it would absorb the juices the same way. So, thanks for the tip on leaving the cornbread out for a few days. It seems like common sense, but I never thought of it. Great tip!

    • Thank you! I really think letting your bread (whether it’s cornbread, french bread, etc) go stale is key so your stuffing doesn’t end up soggy! No one wants that. 😉

    • Thanks, Maria. I’m not sure if you eat seafood, but if you do, check out the response I left for Erika above. I mentioned that the recipe was originally made with shrimp!

  4. I love stuffing!! This past Thanksgiving, we had a cornbread and a regular bread stuffing, and I actually preferred the cornbread one! Yours looks awesome, love the idea of putting pancetta in there 🙂

    • You’re right – I guess I can’t truly call this stuffing! When Jon and I were searching for a stuffing recipe this year, we learned from Alton Brown on the Food Network website that people actually shouldn’t make stuffing IN the turkey because it breeds bacteria. Who knew? Plus, if you make stuffing separately, you can make so much more of it! 😉

    • If you already like the boxed kind, you are sure to absolutely LOVE this. It’s so fresh and full of delicious meats and veggies. You’re right that it’s more work but if Jon helps you prep, you’ll be done in no time. 🙂

  5. It’s never once occurred to me to add meat to stuffing (though my grandmother makes oyster stuffing every year–I find it repulsive). This is genius! And it looks delicious! I won’t be cooking for Christmas, but I’m definitely saving this. I’m so bad at making stuffing, but I’m definitely giving this one a try!

    • I think the addition of (any) meat really elevates this dish. It takes it from a simple side dish to a potential main entree! Even if you think you’re bad at stuffing, you should give this a try. There’s not much that can go wrong! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. 🙂

  6. Leah, this looks so delicious.I have never thought of bacon or pancetta in stuffing. I can only imagine the taste of it with the zesty sausage too. Excellent and different twist on stuffing. Absolutely delicious!!

    • Thanks, Judy! It had so many complimentary flavors – from the slightly salty pancetta, to the slightly sweet cornbread, to the slightly spicy sausage… mmm!

    • You could definitely do this. I promise it’s not hard! You could always substitute the pancetta for bacon too since I know how much your family loves bacon. 😉

  7. Pingback: My Christmas Stuffing | THE SCARECROW

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