As a vegetarian, L.V. Anderson, Slate's food and drink editor, focuses her holiday feasting on the side dishes -- especially cornbread stuffing.
The original recipe (published on Slate) calls for sausage and chicken broth, but Laura has adapted cornbread stuffing for vegetarians. She graciously agreed to share that recipe (below) with Sporkful readers.
Vegetarian Cornbread Stuffing
Yield: 12 to 18 servings
Time: About 2 hours, plus time for the cornbread to cool
Oil or butter for greasing the pan
2 cups medium-grind yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 large eggs
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 cups milk, preferably not skim
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
8 celery stalks, chopped
2 to 3 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Cubed Stuffing or other seasoned croutons
1 tablespoon rubbed dried sage, or more to taste
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, or more to taste
4 cups vegetable stock, or more as needed
1. Heat the oven to 425°F and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Beat 2 of the eggs in a separate medium bowl, then stir in the oil and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, then transfer the batter to the greased pan. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and let sit at room temperature overnight if time allows.
2. Heat the oven to 450°F and grease an 11- by 15-inch baking dish (or a 9- by 13-inch baking dish plus a few ramekins). Put the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Break the cornbread into 1- to 2-inch chunks in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture along with the seasoned croutons, sage, poultry seasoning, and a few generous dashes of salt and black pepper. Toss to combine, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Beat the remaining 3 eggs and fold them into the cornbread mixture, then gradually add the stock, stirring gently to avoid breaking up the cornbread chunks, until the mixture is moist but not sopping. Transfer the mixture to the greased pan(s). Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes, and serve hot or warm.
Photo: Flickr CC / tiny banquet committee