Cornbread Stuffing with Dried Fruit, Shallots and Watercress

This recipe gives you enough to stuff the turkey and have a side-dish as well. Both ways are delicious but completely different. I prefer the stuffed in the turkey version simply because it is more moist and flavorful. The side-dish version is great as well, but a bit drier.

Makes Enough Stuffing for a 25 lb. Turkey with Extra to Bake as a Side-Dish

1        Loaf Golden Cornbread

1        2 Pound Loaf Brioche, Crust Removed

1        Cup Dried Cranberries

1        Cup Dried Apricots, Finely Diced

1        Cup Dried Golden Figs, Finely Diced

1        Cup Dried Mission Figs, Finely Diced

1        Cup Golden Raisins

1        Cup Madeira Wine

2        Cups Homemade Chicken Stock Or Canned Low Sodium Chicken Broth

4       Ounces Unsalted Butter

2        Cup Sliced Shallots

6        Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten

1        Tablespoon Rubbed Sage

3        Bunches Watercress, Large Stems Removed

3        Teaspoons Coarse Seat Salt

1½    Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cube the cornbread and brioche into 1-inch pieces. Spread the cubes evenly in one layer on two half sheet pans or cookie sheets and let dry over night in a cooled oven with the door closed.

In a medium large sauce pan combine the dried fruit with the Madeira wine and the chicken stock. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before draining.  Drain the fruit and set aside the liquid.

Melt the butter in sauté pan over medium heat.  Once the butter becomes hot and bubbly add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the reconstituted dried fruit, cornbread, brioche bread, shallot mixture, eggs, salt, pepper and sage,  Gently combine so as not to make bread mushy.  Gradually add half of the reserved dried fruit liquid and watercress, Once again gently combine.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Hints and Tips:  Never stuff a cold bird with warm stuffing.  This is how bacteria can form.  It’s best to make the stuffing the day before and refrigerate it over-night.  Bring the turkey and stuffing out of the refrigerator no more than an hour before stuffing and roasting.

Always loosely stuff the bird. Try not to pack it in too tightly because the eggs in the stuffing will make it expand.

You can make the cornbread several days in advance.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for a month.

Photo #4