Bread and Cornbread Dressing with Cranberries and Pecans recipe

Cranberry-Pecan Bread and Cornbread Dressing

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I’ve been making this combination of bread and cornbread dressing (or stuffing) for years. It all came about because my husband’s family made their dressing from cornbread, while I grew up with dressing made with bread. But after trying the cornbread version, I decided that I liked that too, so the only choice left was to combine them.

What I like about this recipe is that part of it can be made ahead of time, from making the cornbread to prepping the bread and vegetables. It’s also a good way to use up slices of bread that might not otherwise have a home. When I have extra pieces of bread, or the end slices that nobody really wants to eat, I put them in sealable plastic bags and freeze them until I’m ready to make dressing.

This dish is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it’s not limited to the holidays. It also makes a great side for chicken or pork. You can keep the flavor simple with just butter and herbs or make it a little more fashionable with the addition of dried cranberries and chopped pecans.

Tips

  • Using a casserole dish to bake the dressing is the safest way to make sure it’s cooked and avoid any unnecessary contamination from the turkey. However, if you’re planning on stuffing your turkey, I recommend the suggestions from this USDA article, Turkey Basics: Stuffing.
  • The cornbread recipe we use in this dressing is a stripped-down version of our Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. Any left over freezes well for another meal.

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Bread and Cornbread Dressing with Cranberries and Pecans

Ingredients

  • 4 cups slightly dry bread, torn or cut into about 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups crumbled cornbread (our recipe below or a box corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10.5-x-7.5-inch baking dish, or one of equivalent size.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent and soft. Adjust the heat as needed.

Mix the bread, cornbread, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the butter and onion mixture and stir well to combine. Pour in the broth and mix well. Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

Spoon the dressing into the prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 25 minutes. Serve it right from the baking dish or transfer to a serving bowl.

Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8-x-8-inch baking pan, or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil. Add all at once to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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