Monday, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples, + Caramelized Leeks

Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing Bread Pudding with Sausage, Apples, + Buttered Leeks
Do y'all absolutely hate me?? I'm guessing that's the case... and I sincerely apologize. Blah blah blah, I know. I've been missing from the count and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. That means blogging... regularly. So you probably have sooooo many questions--mainly why have I been MIA. Well, with the launch of my Etsy store, Haute + Heirloom, I have been slam-damn-packed. LIKE SERIOUSLY Y'ALL. If you haven't gotten the chance to check the store out, then please head over. I'm excited to announce that it has taken off and been uber-popular :) Yay, go me!! But today, I'm back... with a way-overdue recipe from Thanksgiving. I know, it's shameful, though it's far too delish not to share. This would be the perfect substitute for stuffing at your Christmas dinner table, so it's totally relevant. To get started, it's a play off of the popular holiday dish, but slightly different, because it is transformed into a savory bread pudding. Savory bread pudding is relatively new to the scene, mainly due to the fact that we all associate bread pudding as a sweet recipe. But y'all, don't fear it--embrace it!! It's my jam. Really. And to only make the situation better, the stuffing/bread pudding is loaded with cornbread, buttered leeks, sausage, caramelized apples, wine, fresh herbs, and a creamy custard. All of the components are soaked and baked until the middle is soft and smooth, but crusty and cooked throughout. I love the texture so much here. Sometimes stuffing/dressing can be far too dry or far too wet, this is substantial yet pillowy. You know what though, it's even better the next day!! Yes, it's very true... I love to slice up some of it, toss it in a french toast batter, and then fry it until golden brown & crispy. A french toasted-bread pudding-stuffing cake... OMG, melt in yo mouth. So, c'mon y'all, you gotta try this stuff, especially because I'm posting a recipe for the most killer Thanksgiving Club sandwich tomorrow. Don't wet your pants in excitement!! Enjoy :)
sliced up + ready to be french toasted :)
crispy fried sage
Oh just the most ridiculous Thanksgiving Club Sandwich
see dem layers??
You're gonna wanna piece of dat.
For the Thanksgiving Cornbread Straffing:
4C Stale Cornbread, Cut into 1-inch Cubes
4C Stale French Bread, Cut into 1-inch Cubes
2C Stale Crusty & Chewy Italian Loaf, Cut into 1-inch Cubes
1C Leeks, Cut into ½-inch Thick Slices (white & light green parts only)
2T Unsalted Butter
1T Olive Oil
1lb Ground Sausage (regular, spicy, or sage flavored sausage can be used)
2 Chicken & Apple Sausage Links, Cut into Small Cubes
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
1 Large Vidalia Onion, Chopped
2 Ribs of Celery, Chopped
2 Granny Smith Apples, Diced (you can leave the skin on or peel it off)
2T Maple Syrup
5 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1C White Wine
2T Fresh Sage, Minced
2t Fresh Rosemary & Fresh Thyme, Minced
1T Fresh Parsley, Minced
¼t Turmeric, White Pepper, & Paprika
5 Large Eggs
2C Chicken Stock (depending on how moist you liked your stuffing, you could add 1C more)
1 ½C Heavy Cream
1C Whole Milk 
Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish with Pam. Set it aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cubed cornbread, French bread, and Italian bread.
3. For the Caramelized Leeks: Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the 2T butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the caramelized leeks into the bowl of cubed bread.
4. In a deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the ground sausage, making sure to break it up into small pieces and brown it well until completely cooked through. Remove the crumbled sausage by straining it from the fat in the pan, onto a paper towel to cool (making sure to leave the rendered fat behind to sauté the vegetables). Melt the stick of butter in the same pan and add in the chopped onions, celery, and apples, seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent or caramelized. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sautéed vegetables and toss in the minced garlic. Continue to cook, over medium heat, until the garlic softens slightly and becomes fragrant. Carefully pour in the wine, add the herbs and seasonings, and cook to reduce the liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Pour this mixture into a bowl, along with the cooked sausage and bread.
5. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the eggs with the stock, heavy cream, and milk. Place the tossed, cubed bread into the prepared baking dish, making sure it’s an even layer and that each bread is mixed throughout. Distribute the vegetable-sausage mixture over the bread cubes, tossing well. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread (tossing a little to mix it well). Sprinkle the top with a little salt and pepper, if needed. Let the bread pudding soak for at least 3 hours, but can be soaked overnight and baked the next day.
6. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, and then remove the foil, and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the dressing is cooked through and the top is crispy. Keep warm until ready to serve.

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