Cornbread Dressing

There was something about this that really reminded me of Stovetop Dressing, it was comforting and plain. John liked it and is hinting that it would be a good addition to the Christmas canon. This from someone who usually doesn’t bother with bread stuffing at all. The recipe below is what I actually did, although unless I’ve got a vegetarian on the premises again I’ll use real bacon and bacon fat next time, which the original recipe suggested.

4 slices quorn bacon, cut into shreds
4 oz butter, in two batches
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cups crumbled cornbread
3 medium slices wholemeal bread, lightly toasted and cut into small squares (maybe about 1.5 cms?)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage
About 1/3 pint well-seasoned warm stock (veggie in this case, chicken would be more usual)

Fry the bacon in one lot of butter, tip it into a big bowl and fry the veggies in the next lot. Add to the bowl with all the dry ingredients, mix up well. Pile into a baking dish (I used a heavy crockery pie dish), pour on the stock to moisten and bake at Gas Mark 5 for half an hour (into the oven once the turkey’s come out would be fine).

As there’s no egg or other binding it doesn’t need cooking so much as warming through, the longer you cook it the more the bottom will get soft and the top crisp. If you’re enough of a veggie not to want the quorn bacon, it will need more salt and possibly some fake/liquid smoke of some kind. If you’re setting the oven high once the turkey’s done, for roasting potatoes, you could heat this in a heavy-bottom frying pan on the hob, or if you can fit it in, put it low down in the oven and keep an eye on it. You could, of course, actually stuff the turkey with it.

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