Growing up in my house we had holidays and meals that I thought were traditional. The fresh turkey, mom's sausage and parsley stuffing, mashed potatoes corn, usually a green bean casserole, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and almost everything was made from scratch. What else could you possibly need? Fast forward through the years, and lucky for me, I married a man who loves to cook and is really good at it. Although the first couple of holidays were honestly a bit of a gamble for me. If we hosted, I'd have to have the side comment with my siblings, as to ""Please, don't say 'Where's the sausage stuffing?'", and yes, you have to at least try the homemade squash soup he made. In every case, we were all pleasantly surprised and our bellies were always too full at the end of the day. Now one of the favorites is the cornbread stuffing that he makes. It's amazing, and there's usually not much for leftovers.
FOR THE CORNBREAD
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably organic stone ground
½ cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt or buttermilk
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon mild honey
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (to taste)
FOR THE CORNBREAD AND SAGE STUFFING
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or 1 tablespoon each olive oil and unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
4 stalks celery, cut in small dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons rubbed sage, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup milk, or as necessary, for moistening
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet, in the oven while you prepare the batter.
Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the mixture to combine. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt milk and honey together. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture.
Remove the pan from the oven, and add the butter to the pan to melt butter, do not let it brown, then whisk the butter into the batter. Brush the sides of the pan with any butter remaining in the pan.
Scrape all of the batter into the hot pan, and place in the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. When cool crumble in a food processor.
For the Stuffing
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the celery. Cook together until the onion is tender. Add the garlic, and stir together for 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Combine well. Taste and adjust salt add 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, moisten with milk if needed.
transfer to a buttered or oiled 2-quart baking dish. Dot with butter. Cover with aluminum foil, and heat through in a 325-degree oven for 30 minutes.