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Corn Bread Dressing

James Beard's American Cookery (Little, Brown and Co., 2010) has just been re-released, a reminder that the "dean of American cookery" provided a classic guide to regional cuisine.  His recipe for corn bread stuffing, he writes, "is a particularly good one." This is an adaptation of that recipe.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1 pound well-seasoned sausage meat

The liver of the turkey, finely chopped

8 cups coarsely crumbled corn bread

 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of salt, to taste

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup Madeira

Sauté the onions in the butter in a large skillet until they are pale gold. Remove to a mixing bowl.

Add the sausage to the skillet, break it up with a fork and let it cook several minutes over medium heat. When it is lightly browned, add the chopped liver. Brown it for 2 to 3 minutes with the sausage meat and add to the onions in the bowl.

Add the crumbled corn bread, salt, pepper and the rest of the seasonings. Mix well with the hands and add the Madeira.

Taste for seasoning and stuff the bird or cook in buttered casserole.

Variations

Add 1 cup chopped pecans.

Instead of sausage, add 5 or 6 chicken livers finely chopped and an additional 1/4 cup Madeira.

Add 3/4 cup pine nuts at the very last minute.

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