Can you believe there are less than 20 days until Canadian Thanksgiving and 65 days until American Thanksgiving? Where has this year gone?! Seriously. Not that I'm going to be sad to see it go. From here on out for the remainder of the year, I hope you're ready for seasonal recipes that can translate from weeknight family dinner to elaborate holiday feasts.
This is a recipe I’ve been daydreaming about for nearly two years now. When it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I’m typically a strictly from scratch kind of girl (minus dinner rolls, because the way my husband eats bread makes it illogical for me to make dinner rolls). But a couple of years ago, I took a chance and ordered a stuffing mix that was to die for. Of course, the following year they didn’t offer it, so I had to do my best impersonation and create my own version of this southwest-inspired Jalapeño Cornbread Dressing.
Jalapeño Cornbread Dressing
For readers who are accustomed to purchasing pre-packaged stuffing, this dressing can also be used as stuffing and cooked inside your Thanksgiving turkey; simply follow the instructions below until you reach the bit about the oven. Simply stuff as much as the stuffing into the bird as you can, covering with foil if it's starting to get too brown.
Straight up: the quality of the chorizo you use to make this dressing is going to make this a make or break side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner. I buy 99% of my chorizo from a local market that makes their own Mexican Chorizo blend and my family noticed a huge difference in flavors compared to the stuff that comes in a pre-packaged tube that seems to be widely available. If that’s the only Mexican Chorizo you can find locally, you’re going to want to drain it and then let it sit on a paper towel to soak up the excess grease.
For the actual cornbread portion of this recipe, you have two options: make your own or buy some already made from the grocery store. Either way, you’re going to need to toast it or otherwise let it dry out prior to putting this dish together, otherwise, you’re going to have soggy cornbread in your dressing. I’m all for moist dressing, but soggy? Meh, I’ll pass.
As this recipe evolved in my kitchen, so did the ingredients I used. At first, I used fresh jalapeños, diced them up and put them into my cornbread and then I started making plain old fashioned cornbread and simply dicing the jalapeños and adding them to the vegetables that I sauté to put into the dressing mixture. Now, I’ll use canned jalapeños and add the juice to the pan when I’m sautéing the onion, celery and jalapeño mixture, just to give it a little extra bite.
Hosting Thanksgiving in your own home can be stressful, but this recipe can be put together the day before and popped into the oven while the turkey is on the counter resting. You can even take it a step further and dice the celery, onions, and jalapeños two days ahead, just simply put them into an airtight container with a healthy serving of freshly ground pepper and all you’ll need to do is dump the jalapeño mixture into the pan with your chorizo to really meld the flavors together. If you’re making your own cornbread, you can make it ahead of time so you’re not baking or cooking a million things at once. This will also help ensure your chunks of cornbread are on the firmer side and it won’t crumble into tiny pieces of mush once you add them to the chorizo and jalapeño mixture.
Is it called stuffing or dressing in your part of the country?
SOUTHWEST INSPIRED JALAPEÑO CORNBREAD DRESSING
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound quality Mexican chorizo
- 3, chopped celery stalks
- 1 small, finely diced yellow onion
- 1/4 cup, minced jalapeños
- 1 small, diced shallot
- 1 tablespoon, or more to taste jalapeño juice
- 2 cups cubed, toasted or a couple of days old cornbread
- 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
- to taste salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup pepitas
How to cook SOUTHWEST INSPIRED JALAPEÑO CORNBREAD DRESSING
- Preheat oven to 350º and butter a 9x9 inch baking dish.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Once hot, add the Mexican chorizo, cooking to break into chunks. Once the chorizo has begun to let loose of some liquid, add the celery, onion, shallot, and jalapeño and cook until the vegetables are tender about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the chorizo-jalapeño mixture to the cubed cornbread combining thoroughly. Add the chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time. The breadcrumbs should be moist but not soggy. Sprinkle the pepitas over the top and bake, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the cover or foil, and continue baking another 10 minutes. The top will be golden brown and crisp. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. To reheat, add a bit of chicken or turkey stock to the dish.
Sat. Fat (grams)9.70