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Cornbread, Bacon, Leek, and Pecan Dressing

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.