Herman's Cornbread Stuffing

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With this stuffing you could skip the turkey. Yes, it's a long list of ingredients, but this is a winner. Our old friend Herman Merkin mastered this mix. He brought it to our first married Thanksgiving. We've been making it ever since.

Certainly use store-bought cornbread. Add it and the nuts to the mix just before stuffing the turkey.

Note: For a 16- to 20-pound turkey

Ingredients
 

  • 9-inch square pan of stale cornbread (1 recipe), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound spicy sausage meat, crumbled
  • 3 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tightly-packed tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tightly-packed teaspoons each fresh thyme and oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  • 1 tart apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 pound chestnuts, roasted and shelled, or jarred ones
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Instructions

1. In a medium bowl combine wine and dried fruits. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and celery with salt and pepper until soft. Add sausage and sautè until cooked through. Pour off all but a little of the fat. Stir in garlic, spices and herbs. Cook 1 minute. Stir in honey and the wine/fruit mixture and cook over high heat for two minutes. Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate.

3. Before stuffing the turkey reheat, adding the apple, chestnuts, pine nuts, almonds, and cornbread. Season to taste. Either bake in a buttered shallow baking dish at 375°F. for 30 minutes, or loosely stuff turkey.
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