Chef David Tanis grew up in the Midwest, with rich corn bread stuffing for Thanksgiving. He tweaks his mother’s recipe by adding a smoky element. “She’d roll over if she saw the bacon,” he says. But it’s not critical to the stuffing, which also gets savory flavor from hearty kale, so you can leave it out.
Slideshow:More Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1 pound lean thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
4 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
4 cups chicken stock
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush 2 large, shallow baking dishes with butter. Spread the corn bread cubes on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool.
In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the kale until bright green, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a colander and drain. Lightly squeeze dry the kale and coarsely chop. Add the bacon to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry.
In a large skillet, melt the 1 stick of butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the celery, onions and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the kale, bacon and corn bread and gently toss to mix. Season with salt and black pepper.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then gradually beat in the stock. Gently fold the egg mixture into the stuffing, then fold in the melted butter. Spread the stuffing in the prepared baking dishes and cover with foil.
Bake the stuffing in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until hot throughout and crisp on top. Transfer the baking dishes to racks and let the stuffing rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
The corn bread stuffing can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight, before baking.
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