Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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CORNBREAD HERB DRESSING WITH DRIED TOMATOES

AND PANCETTA                R. Wilkins

 about 14 cups; 14 - 16 servings

 8 cups in cubes of day old cornbread (about 1 recipe)
pound thin-sliced pancetta, chopped
about 1 TBSP. olive oil
2 onions (3/4 pound total) chopped
3 TBSP. minced celery
1 jar (about 7 oz. Net) steamed chestnuts or 1 1/3 cups cooked and peeled water-packed canned or vacuum-packed chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup oil packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
cup chopped Italian parsley
3 TBSP. chopped fresh sage or dried rubbed sage
3 TBSP. chopped fresh basil leaves or dried basil
2 TSP. chopped fresh rosemary or dried
cup melted unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 - 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

In a 350 degree oven, bake cornbread cubes until edges begin to brown, 25 - 35 minutes; stir occasionally.

In a 10 - 12 inch frypan over medium-high heat, stir pancetta often until browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain.  Pour fat out of pan and add enough olive oil to make 1/4 cup total and return to the frying pan.

Place pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and stir until limp, about 5 minutes.  Add celery and garlic; stir until celery is limp, 5 - 7 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl add the cornbread, pancetta, onion mixture, chestnuts, tomatoes, parsley, sage, basil, rosemary and butter.  Mix well and add salt and pepper as needed.  Mix in broth, cup at a time, until dressing is evenly moistened (for a crumblier dressing, use a lesser amount of stock).  Spoon into a shallow 3 quart that you have sprayed with a non-stick spray and cover tightly with foil.  If making up to one day ahead, may be refrigerated at this point.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot (at least 150 degrees in center, 35 - 40 minutes (50 to 60 minutes if chilled).  For a crusty top, uncover the last 20 - 25 minutes.