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For some odd reason that I don’t understand, I am the only person in my family that likes stuffing. Who are these people I live with??? Since they don’t much care for it, I rarely make it. Thanksgiving is my one exception though! I ALWAYS make stuffing on Thanksgiving and several years ago I came across a recipe that is so fantastic, even my stuffing-free family and friends love it. One of my girlfriends stakes her claim on our leftovers every year!

One year we picked up a holiday edition of Sunset magazine and this is where I found my all-time favorite stuffing recipe. This dish is extremely colorful and the variety of unique ingredients create a bold, bright flavor. Let’s just say there is chorizo involved! CHORIZO!!!! Geez I love that stuff!!! There is also fresh baked corn bread, mushrooms and butternut squash, just to name a few.

I just know you and yours will love it as much as we do!!!

Southwest Cornbread and Chorizo Stuffing

1 butternut squash (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb.)2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 onion (6 oz.)

1 red bell pepper (8 oz.)

1 fresh fennel head (9 oz.)

1 pound mushrooms

1 pound chorizo sausage (see notes)

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 large eggs

1 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth 

CORNBREAD (RECIPE FOLLOWS)
Preparation

1. Peel and seed squash. Cut into 1-inch chunks; you should have about 3 cups. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, combine 1/2 cup water with brown sugar and the squash. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring once, until squash is almost tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, occasionally stirring gently, until most of the water is evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Peel and chop onion. Rinse, stem, seed, and chop bell pepper. Rinse fennel and trim off and discard base of head and tough stalks. Chop enough fennel to make about 1 cup. Rinse mushrooms and slice 1/4 inch thick.

3. Squeeze sausage from casings and break into chunks into a 12-inch frying pan or 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat; stir often until lightly browned and crumbly, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour sausage into a wire strainer to drain; discard fat.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Add butter to unwashed pan over medium-high heat; when melted, add onion, bell pepper, and fennel and stir often until vegetables begin to soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir until limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sausage, cilantro, sage, and thyme. Add squash.

5. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and broth. Break cornbread into 1/2-inch chunks and drop into bowl. Add sausage mixture and stir gently to combine. Scrape dressing into a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking dish and cover with foil.

6. Bake until hot in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is crisp and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Makes 10-12 servings. 

Cornbread: Preheat oven to 400°. In a bowl, mix 2 boxes (8 1/2 oz. each) corn muffin mix, 3/4 cup milk, and 2 large eggs until blended but still slightly lumpy. I have also used Marie Callender corn bread mix. Just follow package instructions. Pour batter into a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake until top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cornbread cool in pan on a rack.

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