Cornbread is a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish, especially if you have baked up a batch of my delicious Pumpkin Cornbread. The cornbread can be served as-is or it can be turned into a delicious holiday stuffing that will compliment any big family dinner. I have made all kinds of different stuffing recipes in the past, from Bacon, Pumpkin and Pecan Stuffing to Caramelized Onion Stuffing and Cranberry, Pancetta and Butternut Squash Stuffing to Vegetarian Stuffing and a Browned Butter and Sage Stuffing. They’re all delicious, but this Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries is a great alternative to those recipes. It has soft but rustic texture that comes from the cornmeal-rich bread.
The stuffing starts with ingredients that you’ll find in many stuffing recipes, such as onions, celery, garlic, sage and thyme. It’s a great blend of flavors that work well together. They give just the right savory base to the slightly sweet cornbread, which is made with pumpkin to keep it moist and give it a beautiful orange color. I added both fresh and dried cranberries to the stuffing, as well. They add a nice pop of color, as well as a touch of both sweet and tart flavors. All the ingredients are brought together with chicken stock (although you could use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of this dish) and it is baked until the top is crisp and golden.
I used a 9×13-inch pan because the crisp top layer of stuffing is my favorite part and I always want to maximize that portion. If you prefer a softer stuffing, simply use a 9×9-inch pan and keep the baking time the same. If you like a “wet” stuffing, cover your pan with aluminum foil for the whole baking period. The stuffing should be served when it is still warm from the oven, but leftovers can easily be reheated in the microwave. It also makes a nice addition to a turkey and cranberry sandwich, if you have leftovers of everything after your Thanksgiving feast!
Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries
1 Batch Pumpkin Cornbread or 1 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan of cornbread
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup diced celery
3 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup whole cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
approx 2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish/baking pan.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook diced onions for 2-3 minute, just until they start to become tender. Add garlic and celery and cook until celery is tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in sage and thyme.
Transfer onions mixture to a large bowl. Add fresh sage. Add in cranberries and dried cranberries.
Crumble the cornbread into coarse chunks and add to bowl with onion mixture. Pour chicken stock over the cornbread and fold all components together with a spatula, until the vegetables are well distributed. Cornbread may crumble a bit during this process.
Pour into prepared pan and press gently into an even layer.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.