When I first learned in depth about celiac’s disease – the inability to digest gluten – I remember thanking the gods that I only had a slight wheat intolerance. I adore bread, of any shape, size, or function. Of course stuffing or dressing is useless without bread. Or is it?
Turns out cornbread stuffing is amazing! My eyes are opened! I have been wanting to try a cornbread and oyster stuffing for some time but was stymied by unadventurous eaters. When I mentioned that I would use smoked oysters in lieu of fresh, that caught their attention.
Smoked oysters are intense little umami morsels, which are usually best consumed with copious amounts of cheese and good bread. They are very rich and need companionship on their ride down your gullet so as not to disturb the order of things down below.
Taking a cue from this recipe here, I used chickpea flour instead of wheat flour to make the cornbread gluten free and then added my secret ingredient: water chestnuts. These lovely canned goodies make everything feel special every time you bite into a crunch, juicy piece. While far from traditional in cornbread and oyster stuffing, my guests loved it!
Cornbread and Smoked Oyster Stuffing
1 prepared pan of cornbread (8 x 8 pan) broken into bite size pieces (about 4 cups)
1/2 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1 leek, cleaned and sliced in 1/4 inch half rounds
5 tablespoons butter
3 oz smoked oysters
1 tablespoon parsley
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add 2 cups of water to a small sauce pan and add onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. In large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and over medium heat sweat leeks, 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pour vegetable broth into skillet with leeks and turn up heat to braise leeks and cook for 5 minutes on high boil. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Place cornbread in large mixing bowl and add oysters and water chestnuts and mix well. Spoon out all of leeks and pour in braising liquid and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pan and bake for 30 minutes until crisp on top. Alternatively, stuff a bird (chicken, turkey) with stuffing.
Recipes currently inspiring me:
Pear and Parsnip Soup at Soup Chick
Black Bean and Shrimp Quesadillas at The Perfect Pantry
Braised Red Cabbage with Ginger, Apples and Cinnamon at Sophie’s Foodfiles