By Eva Kosmas Flores
As the holidays approach, I’m always looking for delicious new recipes to put on the table that have a bit of an unexpected twist to them. While dates are definitely not an ingredient traditionally found here in the states, they are worth incorporating because they taste so, SO good and pair with rich salty foods like bacon perfectly. In this recipe, crispy bacon and soft caramel-like dates are chopped up and tossed into this delicious moist cornbread stuffing. You can prepare it outside of the bird, or stuff it inside, whichever you’d prefer. I usually just double it and make some outside the bird and some inside the bird to please everyone’s stuffing preferences. If you make it inside the bird, just make sure to confirm with a thermometer that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165 before removing it from the oven. Safety first!
1 lb cornbread, crumbled
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped pitted dates
6 strips cooked bacon, diced (pan drippings from frying the bacon reserved)
2 cups chicken cooking stock, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss together the cornbread, onion, dates, and bacon. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, butter, bacon pan drippings, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Drizzle the stock mixture over the cornbread mixture and toss until combined.
Empty the stuffing into a medium casserole dish and place it in the oven. Bake until the top of the cornbread is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.