My grandchildren say the Thanksgiving table is not complete without my special stuffing. They can live without the candied sweet potatoes, corn, mashed potatoes and maybe even the turkey, but not the stuffing. There is never enough of this dish no matter how much I make. The kids love to guess what’s in it as I never make it exactly the same way from year to year. Here is last year’s recipe for “Nana’s Special Stuffing.” It includes cornbread, walnuts, grated carrots, cranberries, onions, mushrooms and spices all in varying amounts. My recipe changes slightly each year depending on the amounts of each ingredient I use. Try it with your own variations. I am sure it will be a hit!
2 large onions chopped
½ cup walnuts chopped
1 cup dried cranberries (low sugar variety)
½ cup shredded carrots
1 package white mushrooms chopped
2 quarts of chicken broth (low sodium)
¼ cup cooked wild rice
1 large package of Bells Stuffing mix
1 corn bread 8 x8 ‘cake’ (I buy mine at Shaw’s. Stale corn muffins can work in a pinch.)
Two nights before Thanksgiving – Start with a pre-made cornbread ‘cake’. Slice the corn bread into ½ inch wide strips. Lay the strips flat on a cookie sheet bake in a 200-degree oven for about an hour or until it is hard and can be diced into cubes. If you have less time to prepare, use a corn bread stuffing mix available at any grocery store. Pepperidge Farms makes a great cornbread stuffing mix. The corn bread will be crumbled or cubed in the package depending on which brand you purchase. I have used the packaged cornbread stuffing; my family still likes it.
The night before Thanksgiving – Sauté onions and mushrooms in a large skillet until the onions are translucent. Transfer the onions and mushrooms into a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add a quart of the chicken broth. Slowly add corn bread cubes (or store-bought cornbread stuffing mix), carrots, rice, and Bell’s stuffing mix. Stir it frequently so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to low. Continue stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed (but not dry) and then add the remaining broth. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the walnuts and cranberries. Stir this all together and let cool. Refrigerate the mixture until you are ready to stuff the turkey. Any stuffing that cannot fit into your bird, can be scooped into a Pyrex or a baking dish. Be sure to spray the dish with cooking spray. Bake the remainder of the stuffing in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how wet you like your “out of bird” stuffing. Oven cooking times vary so be sure to check on it frequently the first time you make this recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe; my family sure does!