Did you know that there is a simple way to make gluten free stuffing? Traditional in the south, cornbread makes an excellent savory stuffing. Use our cornbread recipe, or you can even use store bought cornbread to save time. If you make the cornbread it will require a little more prep work, but I think the results are much better than traditional stuffing. If you’re the type to plan in advance make the cornbread a few days early. You can even cube it, toast it, and then freeze it. This is a basic recipe that will work with a variety of CSA vegetables, and you could even swap sausage for bacon if you prefer. There’s still time to stop by the Ithaca Farmers’ Market and grab some local pastured meats from Autumn’s Harvest Farm! There meat is also available at many retail locations, just check out their site for more info.
While we do grow a small amount of celery on our farm, but it’s usually only available for a short time. For a truly local Thanksgiving try using celeriac in place of celery. It has the same flavor and is readily available this time of year. If the weather is warm you might find celery! In that case sub celery for celeriac, it’s flexible.
I diced the bacon and leeks to keep them consistent with all of the veggies. Everything had a nice texture. If you prefer a really soft stuffing, add an additional 1/2 cup of chicken stock and keep covered throughout baking. For leftovers I’d recommend adding a little stock while you reheat so it doesn’t dry out. Start with toasting the bread cubes, and while they’re in the oven cook the bacon, then the vegetables.
Mix the stuffing in a large bowl, tossing everything until all of the stock is absorbed into the bread. If making in advance add the stock just before cooking.
Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon & Leeks
8 cups cubed cornbread (see recipe below)
2 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large or 2 small leeks, washed and diced
2 cups peeled and diced celeriac or celery
1/2 lb bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the cornbread cubes on 2 baking sheets and toast for 10 – 15 minutes until moisture evaporates and bread cubes are crisp. Let cool.
While the cornbread is toasting, crisp the bacon over medium low heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium low heat and melt the butter. Add the cubed vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Vegetable should be tender, but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the toasted bread cubes, vegetables, and reserved bacon to a large bowl. Pour chicken stock into the bowl, stirring and tossing until all of the stock is absorbed. Transfer to a a greased casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. If you prefer a crispy top (I do) remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. *To make vegetarian, omit the bacon and sauté veggies in just butter. Sub vegetable stock for chicken
Cornbread (a double recipe will yield 2 – 8 inch rounds, you’ll have a bit of cornbread leftover for snacking)
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups cornmeal (check label for gluten free if necessary)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or 1 1/4 cup whole milk curdled with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Melt the butter in a cast iron pan, which you can later use for baking. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, melt the butter and bake the cornbread in an 8 or 9″ cake pan. Let the butter cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the corn meal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Thoroughly whisk the egg, then combine the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until “just mixed” Bake for 20 minutes.