Holiday Feature


Cornbread-Water Chestnut Dressing


Cornbread from scratch is easy to make, but there are ready-to-make mixes that are even easier and produce the same results. At an average of 30 cents a box, the Jiffy brand is hard to beat. Each box makes one 8-inch square loaf. For this recipe, use 2 boxes together to fill a single large 8"x13" pan, or equivalent.

The water chestnuts are an excellent addition as they add a crispness, even through baking, that enhances the crunchy texture of the dressing surface.


  • 2 boxes (each 8.5-ounce) Jiffy cornbread mix (or equivalent)
  • For mix: 2 eggs
  • For mix: 2/3 cup milk


  • 1 pound pork sausage, preferably mild with sage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 can (3.5 ounces, drained weight) pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (8-ounce) water chestnuts, rinsed and drained; coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage or 1-1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1 cup turkey stock (the one you are making at the same time)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or more stock)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Baking the cornbread:
Preheat your oven and make the cornbread to manufacturer's instructions. The cornbread may be baked the night before and refrigerated, or even several weeks before and frozen.

Making the dressing:
Fry the sausage in a large skillet until brown. Remove from pan to a large mixing bowl, leaving the oil and drippings in the pan. sauté the onions over medium heat in the same pan, adding the celery after about two minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add to the sausage mixture in the bowl.

When your cornbread has finished baking, add it to the bowl at any time in this process.

Add the coarsely chopped olives and water chestnuts (note: they can be in large irregular chunks, which add texture), the pine nuts, and the red pepper flakes. Using a measuring cup, scoop out 1 cup of stock and add it and the wine to the dressing. Mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon or equivalent.

Pour into a greased 8"x13" baking pan. Cover with foil and bake on the top rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes, until the top is crunchy and brown. Remove from oven and cover to keep warm until serving. If necessary to reheat, cover with foil while doing so, removing the foil at the last few minutes to recrisp the top.

More Stuffing Recipes and Tips

Stuffing a Turkey (or Not)
Stuffing Tips and Free-Form Techniques, including:
          Aloha Bread & Macademia Stuffing
          French Apple-Walnut-Rosemary Stuffing
Simply Delicious Thanksgiving Stuffing
Chestnut Stuffing
Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Sage Stuffing
Pan-Asian Rice Dressing

More Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving No-Brainer


FoodWine's Perfect Turkey Handbook
Using a Meat Thermometer


This page modified November 2006

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