Nov 22, 2009

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

I'm up early on a Sunday morning. Hotness is still in bed snoozing.
I figured, now is a good time to blog and put up a recipe I'm working on for Thanksgiving.

Before I start in, I should mention a couple of things:
1) This is a recipe I'm making for the FIRST TIME. I'm not sure how it'll come out, as I'm "winging it" as I go along.
2) All measurements (that aren't specified) are approximate. I'll try to be accurate, but it's sort of up to personal preference on some of this stuff, so use as little or as much as you see fit.

First, we start with the cornbread since this is the base for the whole thing.
You can use a commercial gluten-free mix, like Bob's Red Mill GF Cornbread Mix. (This is probably the easiest way to go, but since I couldn't find it when I went shopping, here's how to make your own...)
> 1 Cup of gluten-free (GF) cornmeal
> 1 Cup of GF flour (I used: 1/2 Cup rice flour + 1/4 Cup Tapioca flour + 1/4 Cup cornstarch.... all available through Bob's Red Mill)
> 1 Teaspoon Xanthan gum (this stuff is rather expensive, but a little bit goes a very long way, so it all works out if you plan on doing a lot of GF baking)
> 1/2 Cup sugar
> 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder (I used Clabber Girl, but make sure the brand you use is gluten-free.... they should be by nature, but sometimes you never know)
> 1 Cup of Milk (I used Fat-free, or "Skim", but that's just personal choice)
> in a 1 Cup measure, put 2 eggs and then top off with vegetable oil to make "1 Cup"

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients to it and mix well.
(for added flavor, I added about 1/2 tsp of rubbed sage and 1/4 tsp of thyme to the dry ingredients)

Pour it in a skillet or baking dish (8x8x2 should be fine) and bake at 425 F. (Originally my recipe said for only 20 minutes, but it actually took about 35-40 minutes. I'd say start at 20 minutes and check it to see if a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any gooey batter. If it does, it's done. If it doesn't add another 5-7 minutes until it is)
* One thing about GF breads is that thay are "heavier" and more dense than typical bread. Don't be surprised if it doesn't come out looking like regular cornbread (such as Jiffy Cornbread).

Let it cool and then slice the cornbread into 1/2 - 3/4 inch slices.
Take the slices and cube them into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes.
Then let them sit for a couple of days to get nice and stale. (You want them kind of dry and hard when you make the stuffing).

If you don't have a couple of days, you can spread the cubed bread out on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven for an hour or so. Turn your oven to 150 - 200 F and check on them periodically. When they are nice and dry (almost like croutons), they're done.

That recipe (plus the stuff we're going to add next) should be enough to make a side-dish for 4 or 5 people. So if you are planning on more people, just double-up the recipe. If you have leftover stuffing, who doesn't like stuffing the next day? Only communists, I tell you.

Now to make the stuffing.
Measurements are approximate, so feel free to add more if you like it, or leave it out if you don't.

In a skillet on med heat, melt about 4 Tablespoons of butter and to it add:
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Cup of Mushrooms (see below)
Stir these around for a bit until they start to get a little soft. (The onion starts to turn translucent about that time)
Then add these to your cornbread cubes and toss them around to mix it all up

In a saucepan, heat up 1 cup of GF chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth if you want) and add 1 teaspoon of sage (I use "rubbed" instead of "ground", but the flavor is the same so use what you have... and feel free to use more if you like sage).
It doesn't need to boil, but get the broth to a simmer to make sure you get the sage flavor to mix.
Then add this to your cornbread cubes and mix it up good so that everything is soaked in both, and put it in a baking dish (the size will depend on what you decide to add to the stuffing next...)

I am adding to this mix:
> approx. 1 Cup of wild mushrooms (I bought dehydrated ones at the grocery store and followed the directions for reconstituting them)
> approx. 1 tart apple (like Granny Smith) chopped up into small cubes
> approx. 1/2 Cup of dried cranberries (I'm using Craisins, but you could also use chopped dried apricots instead)
> approx. 1 Cup of cooked and drained pork sausage (not the "maple-flavored" kind, though)
> approx. 1/2 Cup of shelled pistachios (or walnuts, pine nuts, or even shelled pumpkin seeds!)

Mix everything (or at least, everything you want to add from the list of extras) and bake it in the oven at 425 F for about 30-40 minutes until everything is heated through.

I've never made this recipe before, but I did make good old Stove-Top Stuffing and added these ingredients to it and it was wonderful. I can't see that making stuffing from scratch would be any different.
I'll let you know how mine came out after Thanksgiving is over.

***** Bonus Recipe *****
I'm also making some roasted red potatoes. This recipe is E-A-S-Y!!
Chop up some red potatoes into approx 1 inch cubes (about 7 regular-sized taters), and put them into a bowl.
Add fresh ground pepper and salt (enough to taste) and a generous amount of chopped rosemary (if I had to measure, I'd say at least a tablespoon)
And crumbled cooked bacon. (Mmmm! BACON!) Maybe about a 1/4 Cup (or a little more... it IS bacon after all!)
Then pour olive oil over (just enough to coat everything evenly) and toss everything around a bit to mix it all up.
Put it all in a baking dish and bake at 425 F until the potatoes are done (usually about 45 minutes, but check them periodically... it could take an hour)

Anyway, that's what I'm making this year.
If you try either (or both) of these recipes out and have any comments or suggestions, let me know.

Until next time.....

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