Cornbread, Andouille and Celery Root Dressing

I stole oodles of ideas for this dressing recipe. It's similar to one that I made with shrimp, but I left that out; I switched the bread crumbs to cornbread (homemade, of course) and got the idea of the shallots and red peppers from a Bon Appetit recipe. The idea of the celeriac (celery root) and celery leaves came from Mary Sue Milliken of the Border Grill in Santa Monica -- celery leaves have a great flavor, and most folks throw 'em away. (Uh, did I say stole? I meant to say I was inspired by their ideas ... of course.)

I served this for Thanksgiving '99, and the reviews were raves.


Heat oven to 350°F.

Cube cornbread and spread on a large baking sheet. Bake the cornbread until and slightly toasted, about 10-20 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl and cool.

Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add andouille, green onions, shallots and sweet onions; sauté until transparent, about 8 minutes. Add celery, celery root, garlic, thyme, sage, allspice, cayenne and bay leaves and saut é until vegetables are just tender and the mixture is moist, about 10 more minutes. Mix the vegetables into the corn bread thoroughly. Moisten with just enough stock to keep it from being too dry, but making sure it doesn't get soggy. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then mix in the eggs.

Butter a 13x9x2" baking dish and add the dressing. Cover tightly with foil, then bake until stuffing is firm and heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top just begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)