Stuffing. Oh stuffing. Easily my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. And then I want it all holiday season. Along with all the other carbs that come with this time of year. I’m decidedly trying not to do things like continue to eat holiday food for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas since I know from past experience it can be a slippery slope– what starts as one piece of persimmon bread for dessert in late November becomes three pieces of persimmon bread, a slice of apple pie, a slice of pumpkin pie and five chocolate chip cookies by the new year. I don’t want that tolerance/numbness to sugar to build up in my body as it has in the past. But. But. I don’t see why that means I can’t share my stuffing recipe with anyone out there who is throwing a dinner party this holiday season, or just happens to want a week-long supply of stuffing because he or she has the proper amount of all-in holiday attitude to be able to handle it. That doesn’t mean I’m condoning gorging on sweets (or stuffing for that matter) on any sort of regular basis. As a nutritional therapist, I know way too much about how our bodies handle sugar to suggest that. But, I am first and foremost of the school of thought that the holidays are made for traditions, that many of those traditions involve food that is sometimes rich and sticks to your ribs, and that it is ok to indulge in the treats that make you the happiest. So here is one of my favorite recipes that has become tradition. I’ve been working on it for a few years and feel I’ve perfected it to the point where it is share-worthy this year. For the cornbread, I base my recipe off the Alber’s cornbread box recipe, but I modify it to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and I cut the sugar in half, replacing it with maple syrup. I also use more cornmeal and less wheat flour than the original recipe. It’s these little tweaks that allow me to tell myself I can still be a nutritionist and eat my favorite things. At least that’s how I choose to see it.
Indulge and enjoy!! More holiday recipes to come.
2 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup olive oil (or good quality unsalted butter, melted)
2 large eggs
2 cups liquid (you can use milk if you don’t have a problem with it, you can use organic unsweetened soy milk or almond milk or even a combination of milk and water)
1 large onion, diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 large apple, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
4 sage leaves, chopped
olive oil for cooking
2 tsp. fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. honey
2-3 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
Grease a 9 x 13 inch rectangular baking dish with butter or oil. Preheat oven to 400. Mix cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl, beat together oil or butter, maple syrup, eggs and milk. Combing wet and dry ingredients. Stir well to combine. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cornbread cool for 15 minutes, then slice it into cubes and set aside.
Turn oven down to 350. In a large stock pot, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat. Add in onion, celery and carrot. Season with thyme, sage, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Sauté 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and start to brown. Add in apples and cranberries or raisins. Cook another 5 minutes. Add in the honey and stir well. Transfer veggies mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in the pot and add in half the cornbread cubes, stirring well to coat. Continue to toast, stirring every few minutes, until cornbread starts to brown. Pour into a bowl and heat another Tbs. olive oil and repeat with the other half of the cornbread cubes. Remove from heat. Pour all the cornbread cubes and the veggie mixture back into the stock pot and still well. Pour in 2-3 cups chicken or veggie broth to add moisture. Pour a little, then stir to see how much the cornbread soaks up. You want to just moisten it, not drown it. It is normal for some of the cornbread to fall apart and become crumbly. This is still delicious.
Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes with a cover on and 20 minutes without a cover.
Enjoy alone or as a side dish and definitely with gravy!