Sage Apricot Pecan Cornbread Dressing. Recently, my husband roasted a whole duck for a special dinner. Normally, we would accompany the roasted duck with a rice or potato dish and a green vegetable. Instead, I made a savory and sweet cornbread dressing to go with the duck instead of the usual rice. This cornbread dressing is such a hit, it will be popping up on my year-round menus.
In this recipe, I use Whole Foods Market’s buttermilk cornbread recipe. It’s a savory cornbread and not too sweet. Also, I like to serve this cornbread with my award-winning Black Bean Chili. For this dressing recipe, you’ll only need about a quarter of the cornbread that Whole Foods’ recipe makes.
Sage is one of my favorite herbs. For whatever reason, this summer, my four year old and generally very resilient sage plant decided to just pass away. The overabundance of rain and the overachieving slug population were just too much for the poor sage plant. I’ll get another one next year. Sage is the star herb in this cornbread dressing.
Dried apricots and toasted pecans round out the main ingredients in this recipe.
Some savory flavor is added via sauteed shallots and celery. A beaten egg binds the dressing together. Chicken stock, heavy cream and dots of butter add some richness. And of course, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Mix it all together and bake, covered with foil, for 30 – 45 minutes. Remove the foil for about 10 minutes to crisp the top of the dressing. And serve!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Sage Apricot Pecan Cornbread Dressing
2 c buttermilk cornbread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you can also use your favorite cornbread)
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 c finely chopped shallots
1/2 c thinly sliced celery
2 T sage chiffonade
1/2 c chopped toasted pecans (toast pecans in a skillet over low heat, stirring often until toasted)
1/2 c chopped dried apricots
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c chicken stock
1/2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper
2 T salted butter, cubed
2 quart ramekin, loaf pan, or 8″ square pan for baking, greased with cooking spray
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the cubed cornbread into a large bowl and set aside.
3. Melt the unsalted butter over medium heat in a skillet.
4. Saute the shallots and celery until translucent and slightly caramelized.
5. Add the sage chiffonade to the shallot/celery mixture and saute a minute or so to let the herb open up. Remove from the heat and set aside.
6. To the cornbread in the bowl, add the toasted pecans, dried apricots, and beaten egg. Stir to combine.
7. Add the shallots, celery, and sage to the cornbread mixture and stir.
8. Add the chicken stock and the heavy cream to the cornbread mixture and stir. Be sure to combine well.
9. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
10. Spoon the dressing into a greased baking dish.
11. Dot the top of the dressing with the cubed salted butter.
12. Cover the baking dish with foil.
13. Bake the foil-covered dressing for 30 – 45 minutes until the dressing is hot in the center.
14. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes or until the dressing has browned on top.
15. Remove the dressing from the oven and serve!
Serves 4 as a side dish to roasted meat or poultry.
Variations: Use dried cherries or cranberries in place of the dried apricots. Add some thyme to the dressing. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock for a vegetarian version. Use store-bought cornbread or make your own favorite recipe. Add more liquid if you prefer a damp dressing.
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