To add a smoky flavor to your dressing, you can use a smoked ingredient rather than fire up the grill. In this recipe, that ingredient is andouille, the mildly spicy, coarse-ground French/Cajun sausage. Its depth, along with a little hot sauce, provides a spicy counterpoint to a meal that is too often a parade of bland.
Andouille typically comes as a link. Either ask the butcher for ground andouille (the dried kind) or simply slit the casing with a knife to release the meat inside, then chop finely. Discard the casing.
Make Ahead: Allow the corn bread to dry out for 1 or 2 days before making the dressing. The dressing can be assembled (unbaked), covered and refrigerated a day in advance.
Servings: 6 - 8
Yield: Makes about 5 cups
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound dried, smoked andouille sausage (casings removed), ground or finely chopped (about 3 1/2 cups; see headnote)
- 2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
- 2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth, plus up to 1 cup as needed
- 4 cups crumbled, stale corn bread, plus up to 1 cup as needed
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have an ungreased 8-by-8-inch baking dish at hand.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the andouille and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until it is evenly browned.
Add the onions, celery and bell pepper, stirring to incorporate; cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
Stir in the garlic, thyme and salt until well incorporated; cook for 2 minutes. Add the hot sauce and broth; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the corn bread and mix well. Remove from the heat. The dressing should be quite moist but not wet. If it seems too moist, add corn bread as needed. If it seems too dry, add broth as needed.
Transfer to the baking dish, spreading the mixture in an even layer. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, until browned on top, scraping and stirring about every 15 minutes to keep the crust light.
From Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin.
Tested by Jeff Donald.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.