Cornbread Cranberry Stuffin' Muffins
Thanksgiving is my JAM! It is my Super Bowl. I make enough food for ten families. Which means the three families who are in attendance get to take home the beloved leftovers. We turn the leftovers into pot pies, breakfast sandwiches, or simply reheat and eat.
Last year I posted one of our staple menu items, the Bourbon Glazed Turkey. This year I am letting you in on another dish which has been passed around The Bell House Thanksgiving dinner table for at least 15 years. The only thing that’s changed in this recipe is the delivery method. I used to make one big casserole dish and everyone would fight over who was getting the crusty bits. Then one day I saw rachel ray putting the stuffing (dressing) into muffin tins. GENIUS! Everyone gets the crusty bits.
In my opinion the best part of the stuffing are the crusty bits. Partially why I couldn't get past the stuffing that came from the cavity of my mother’s Thanksgiving turkey. My mom called it the "inny" and the stuffing that was in the casserole dish was the " outy." The “inny” seemed too soggy to me and as I got older, a little food born illnessy.
I only stuff my turkey with aromatics and leave the muffin tins to work its crusty bit magic on the stuffin’ muffins.
CORNBREAD CRANBERRY STUFFIN' MUFFINS:
1 box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 loaf of store bought white bread, we usually get Schmidt Blue Ribbon
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1-8 ounce pack of cremini mushrooms or baby bellas, sliced
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1 teaspoon of sage
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of French thyme
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of chicken or veggie boullion*
1 egg, whisked
3-4 cups of chicken or veggie broth*
*I have a couple vegetarians in the family and swapping out the chicken broth for the veggie broth will ensure all your guests will be able to enjoy this side dish.
THE DAY BEFORE: Bake the Jiffy Cornbread muffins per the instructions on the box.
Once cooled, break them apart and put them in a large bowl.
Now, put your kids to work and tear apart the white bread into bite sized pieces.
Let the bread set on the counter soaking up the surrounding gas molecules and becoming the stale companion it knows it has to be for this recipe.
Give it a good stir occasionally throughout the next 24 hours. The bread underneath wants the chance to dry out too.
PREPARATION TIP:I know, everyone hates chopping vegetables. Especially when they are preparing for a big event like Thanksgiving dinner. Don't stress about chopping and clean up on the day of the event. Take the time to chop the veggies and portion out the herbs and spices the day before. The day of the big event will seem effortless.
THE BIG DAY:
About 1 1/2 hours before you will need your stuffing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the celery, onion, mushrooms and cranberries to the pan.
Cook the veggies until they are soft. Add the sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and bullion. Continue to cook the mixture for another minute and remove from the heat.
Pour the veggie mixture over top of the stale bread.
Whisk the egg and add it to the mixture. Give the bread, veggies and egg a good stir.
This is the point you will add the broth. I don't want to tell you to add all 3-4 cups of broth into the bowl because I don't want your stuffing to be too dry or too wet. This addition depends on how stale your bread turned out. What you are looking for is good broth coverage. You want all the bread to be coated in the broth, but not soaking sopping wet.
Once you feel you have the perfect stuffing texture, spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray. Then scoop a heaping helping of stuffing mixture into each cup. You should have 12 large stuffin' muffins.
Cover the stuffin' muffins with a piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and delicious.