Cornbread-chorizo dressing

Dressing isn’t just for Thanksgiving! I’ve made this cornbread chorizo dressing, from the November 2013 issue of New Mexico Magazine, several times. The first was for Thanksgiving–it was a hit! I made another batch of it, and we’re thinking about the possibilities for this savory and somewhat spicy dish. How about some poached or scrambled eggs on top with maybe a little red sauce and some melted cheddar-jack cheese, or maybe some crumbled Cotija cheese? Or put the dressing in a dish, make some indentations in it, break eggs into it and do baked eggs in the oven.

If you don’t have access to good chorizo (sausage made with red chile), try it with some hot Italian bulk sausage.

Cornbread Chorizo Dressing 

From New Mexico magazine, November 2013
Makes a lot! (My note—I made half a recipe and it still made about 2 quarts of dressing)

3/4 pound French bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
8 oz. bulk chorizo sausage
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 heaping cups chopped onions or leeks
2 heaping cups thin-sliced celery
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8-inch square pan of cornbread (from a mix, if you wish), crumbled coarsely
3-4 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken stock
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

        Heat oven to 375. Place French bread pieces on baking sheet and toast in oven about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool, then dump into a very large bowl.

        Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish several inches deep. Over medium heat, sauté chorizo in large skillet, breaking into small bits with a spatula as you cook, until well browned. Drain off and discard excess fat. Add butter to chorizo in same skillet and melt over medium heat. Stir in onions and celery and sauté until very soft, about 7 minutes.  Add sage, thyme, salt and pepper and scrape into bowl of toasted bread pieces. Add cornbread crumbles. Pour in stock a cup at a time and mix together until bread is very moist but not soupy. You will probably use 2 to 3 cups of stock. Cover and refrigerate dressing until you are ready to proceed with it. (Up to this point, dressing can be made a day ahead.)

        Taste and adjust seasoning if you wish, or add a bit more stock if mixture seems dry. Whisk eggs and baking powder together and mix into dressing.  Spoon dressing into baking dish, leaving it somewhat uneven on top, so that it will get extra-crunchy in some spots.  Cover, place in oven and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking about 20 additional minutes, until lightly browned and crusty on top.