Corn bread stuffing with leeks, bacon, cranberries, and pecans

(Food Styling/Lisa Falso; Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
November 25, 2009

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Serves 14

Everyone will find something to love in this chunky fruit, nut, and vegetable stuffing that’s baked in a pan, so the top gets crisp while the bottom stays moist. If you prefer a moister stuffing, keep it covered with foil for the entire baking time. This time of year, many markets sell corn bread, if you don’t want to make your own. In the corn bread recipe, substitute oil for the butter, if you like.


Butter (for the dish)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk, butter, and egg. Mix gently just until blended. Transfer the batter to the pan.

3. Bake for 22 minutes or until it is lightly golden. Cool completely in the pan. (Cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.)


Butter (for the dish)
3/4 pound crusty Italian or French bread
8 ounces (about 2 cups) pecans, coarsely chopped
1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thickly sliced and well rinsed
4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Butter a 15-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish.

2. Cut the corn bread and Italian or French bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. In the same oven, on a small baking sheet, toast the pecans for 6 to 8 minutes or until they become aromatic. Add to the bread cubes. Turn the oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a large flameproof casserole, render the bacon over medium heat, stirring often, until browned. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

5. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the celery and cook 5 minutes more or until the vegetables soften. Add to the bread cubes.

6. Add the butter to the pan and cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until they start to brown. Add to the bread cubes.

7. Add the bacon, cranberries, and parsley to the bread cubes. Stir the mixture well.

8. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, stock, salt, and pepper. Pour the liquid over the bread mixture and toss gently to combine. Transfer the stuffing to the dish.

9. Cover with foil and bake the stuffing for 40 minutes. Discard the foil and continue baking for 25 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden (total baking time is 1 hour and 5 minutes). Lisa Zwirn