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Cornbread Dressing with Sage and Black Pepper
Recipe adapted from Rob Newton, Seersucker, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
10 cups corn bread, cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 pounds of cornbread)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound bacon, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the cut cornbread on a sheet tray and cook until it dries out slightly and turns golden brown, about 15 minutes.
2. While the bread is drying, set a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the bacon. Watching your heat to avoid burning, slowly render the fat until the bacon becomes crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. There will be approximately ¼ cup of bacon fat drippings in the pan.
3. To the pan with the bacon drippings, add the celery, onion, sage and thyme. Cook for 6 minutes, until the onion and celery soften slightly.
4. Into a large bowl, crumble the toasted cornbread with your hands, making sure to eliminate any lumps with your fingers. Add the vegetable mixture to the crumbled cornbread and set aside.
5. Using the same saucepan that you used for the bacon and vegetables, add 2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. When it hits a simmer, turn off and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Once cool, pour over the vegetable and cornbread mixture, and add the eggs. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture reaches the consistency of wet sand. Finally, fold in the cooked bacon, and season with salt and pepper.
6. Transfer the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes, until the top turns golden brown. Serve.