Other than the green beans, dressing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I’d tell you that you can also find me standing in front of the fridge chowing down on dressing for breakfast the next morning but that would be a lie. Because I eat the entire container of leftovers on Thanksgiving night. Just so I don’t have to share. ‘Tis true. Shameful, but true.
I made this dressing recipe because it calls for many of my favorite ingredients: cornbread, bacon, leeks, and pecans. With that combination of ingredients, how can it be anything but delicious? It’s also very simple to prepare – I would bake the cornbread the day before Thanksgiving (I used Jiffy mix, btw) and then all you have to do is saute the bacon & leeks and mix everything together on the big day.
- 2 cups pecans
- 2 cornbreads rounds, squares, or loaves, 8 inches each, coarsely broken into 2-inch pieces (16 cups)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus more for dish
- 8 slices smoked bacon chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 leeks white and pale-green parts only, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, rinsed well
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350F. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven for 7 minutes. Let cool slightly; coarsely chop. Mix together pecans and cornbread in a large bowl.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook bacon in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add leeks. Cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; season with pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return skillet to medium-high heat, and add stock; bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add to bowl with bacon-leek mixture. Stir in eggs. Gently mix in cornbread mixture. (Do not overmix.) Transfer to baking dish. Dot top with butter. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.