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Gluten-free diets turn holiday meals into quite the challenge.  It seems like there is wheat flour in nearly everything on the menu, including, sadly, the stuffing.  So either you can have a plate full of dry turkey, or you have to get creative and make the holiday classics go gluten-free.

When Thanksgiving rolled around this year, I couldn’t stand the thought of watching the boy eat turkey and nothing else while the rest of us mowed down on overflowing plates of gluten-y joy.  I think his heart was particularly breaking at the thought of no stuffing, and who’s heart wouldn’t?  Stuffing is probably the most magical item on the Thanksgiving menu.

So months in advance I started theorizing over how to make stuffing go gluten-free.  My first thought was to hoard heels of the ridiculously expensive gluten-free bread the boy buys until I had amassed enough to make stuffing, but I quickly realized that plan was going to take about 5.7 years.  So I hit upon a new idea: make gluten-free cornbread and turn that into stuffing!

Well, folks, I can tell you that that idea was a huge success.  In fact, the stuffing is so tasty that I never managed to get any good pictures of the finished product, I think because we were so busy stuffing it in our faces (pun completely intended) that I never managed to break out the camera before it was gone.  But at least the “in progress” picture gives you an idea of its deliciousness:

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One important note about this stuffing: having made it twice now, I can say that it is pretty ingredient-dependent.  It comes out better with particular versions of cornmeal and gluten-free flour than it does with others.  For example, I’ve made it with fine cornmeal, and I’ve made it with medium grit cornmeal, and the texture was definitely better with the medium grit cornmeal than it was with the fine cornmeal.  And of course, when it comes to using pre-made gluten-free flour mixes, each mix out there is different, and all gluten-free flours behave differently.  So I highly recommend using the exact ingredients I list below; it will probably come out well with others, but I make no guarantees!

Something this delicious had to be shared, and with Christmas right around the corner, now is the time to give this recipe a shot! Whether shoved in a turkey or baked in a baking dish, this stuffing is sure to delight, and best of all, you can serve it to all your gluten-y friends and family and they likely won’t even know the difference.  So don’t say no to stuffing just because of a pesky little wheat allergy; try this recipe instead!

Gluten-Free Cornbread Sage Stuffing

GF Sage Cornbread (can be made up to 2 days in advance, or be used fresh)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (preferably glass) into the oven to heat while you make the batter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl if you do not have a stand mixer), mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk until well-blended.  Slowly add the honey while blending.  Let mixture rest while you mix together the dry ingredients.

In another, medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, including the sage.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while blending until dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the pats of butter, tilting the pan so that the butter melts quickly and spreads evenly.  Pour the melted butter into the batter and blend until incorporated.  Spread the butter that remains in the pan evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan with a pastry brush.

Quickly pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cornbread is golden-brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Stuffing

  • 1 lb ground pork sausage 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2-3 applies, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp rubbed dried sage
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • GF Sage Cornbread, cut into small cubes

In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown the the sausage.  When the sausage is nearly done browning, add the onion and continue to cook until onion softens and begins to turn clear, about 5 minutes.  Add celery and continue cooking until celery begins to soften.  Add garlic and rosemary and cook for 1-2 minutes more, just until garlic becomes fragrant and begins to soften.

Remove mixture from heat.  In a large bowl, gently toss sausage mixture (including the drippings) together with the cornbread cubes, apples, walnuts, parsley, sage, and poultry seasoning until the mixture is homogenous.  Pour melted butter and chicken broth over stuffing mixture and gently toss until mixture is moistened.

Place stuffing in large baking dish (I had to use one 9×13 dish, and one 9×9 dish).  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until crisp and slightly browned.

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