Cornbread Stuffing (with Apples, Bacon and Pecans)
1 (12 oz) bag Pamela’s Cornbread Muffin Mix
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 cup milk or water
2 eggs, large
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (8 x 8-inch) pan Pamela’s Cornbread (see above)
10 ounces bacon, cut crosswise in 1⁄4-inch strips
1⁄4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
2 small yellow onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1⁄2 cup toasted and chopped pecans
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 375°. Butter an 8 x 8-inch pan. In a medium bowl, combine Cornbread & Muffin Mix, sugar, milk, eggs, melted butter, and cayenne.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 24 to 28 minutes, until top is cracked, edges are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Run a small offset spatula or butter knife around the edges of the cornbread, then turn pan over onto cutting board to remove cornbread from pan.
- To make even cubes, first cut whole cornbread into quarters, then each quarter in half, then cut each piece into 1⁄2-inch to 1-inch cubes.
- Allow to dry out in one layer on 13 x 18-inch sheet pan for a day or two, or dry in 200° oven for about 1 to 2 hours, gently tossing a couple of times. Cubes should be dry on the outside, but not all the way through.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Generously butter 8.5 x 11-inch or 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
- In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from pan and add butter, onion, and celery; sauté until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add apples, walnuts, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook until apples soften, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Toss cornbread cubes gently in a large bowl with the eggs.
- Add sautéed apple mixture and bacon, and toss gently again.
- Add broth evenly over the top and toss again until completely distributed and starting to meld together.
- Put stuffing into prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake until top is golden, about 15 minutes longer.
- If you do not want to use eggs for the stuffing, increase chicken broth to 11⁄2 cups.