Dorothy’s Southwest Stuffing
This is wonderful as is, or with traditional gravy, if you like. To make it vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup currants
- Splash of sherry (dry rather than sweet sherry; optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and roughly chopped into strips
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 2 (6-ounce) bags seasoned cornbread stuffing mix (12 ounces total)
- 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
- 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
- 2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1/2‑1 cup toasted pecans, chopped roughly
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- A few shakes red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage (or a few leaves of fresh sage, minced)
- Low-salt, fat-free canned chicken broth (have 2 15-ounce cans on hand)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large, lidded baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
Put raisins and currants in a 2-cup glass or plastic measuring cup, cover with water by 1-1 1/2 inches, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the stuffing. (Add a splash of sherry to the water if you wish; this is optional).
In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté onion, celery and red pepper until it softens, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently; you do not want it to brown. Add minced garlic toward end of sautéing time so garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
Put dry stuffing mix in your largest mixing bowl. To this, add sautéed onion mixture, drained raisins and currants, drained corn, diced green chiles, apple chunks and roasted pecans. Using large wooden spoons or your hands (more fun!), toss gently to combine.
Sprinkle cumin powder, red pepper flakes, chile powder and ground sage over, and toss gently, again, to combine well. You want the spices to be distributed evenly throughout.
Heat 1 can chicken broth (you can do this in a measuring cup in the microwave) and add small amounts at a time to the stuffing, tossing with your wooden spoons between additions, until the stuffing is moistened but not wet. You will use at least 1 can of broth. I recommend you have 2 cans on hand, just in case your mixture still seems too dry, but you probably won’t use too much of the second can. One trick is to mix it up using 1 can of broth, and let it sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes, to let the moisture spread evenly. Then if it is still too dry, begin slowly adding a portion of the second can. Add additional broth with a light hand, because if mixture is too wet, it will turn into concrete stuffing.)
Spoon stuffing into a greased baking dish with a lid (or one that can be covered tightly with foil); don’t pack it in, just spoon it lightly. If it won’t all fit into one dish, portion it between 2 dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
Serves 8-12, depending on appetites and how much else you have on the table!
Ingredient note: Currants are like tiny, dark raisins, made from the seedless Zante grape. You can find them in the supermarket aisle with raisins.
Cook’s note: Do not try to “taste test” this stuffing after you have it all mixed together and before baking, because the herbs and spices might taste harsh. With some dishes, at the point before you bake it you can taste test it to make sure all the spices are right, but not with this one. It really takes baking to marry these spices, so if you taste it while it is still “raw” you will not get an accurate taste test.
Photo credit: The main photo and the picture of me offering the stuffing are by charming professional photographer Michelle Hood. The rest of the photographs are by me.