I have been harvesting *so much* winter squash from the garden lately that I’ve become slightly overwhelmed with what to do with it all. I’ve roasted it and chopped it into cubes, I’ve roasted then pureed it for spreads and fillings, I’ve made soup, ravioli, casserole, tacos, and risotto. So when I was getting my Thanksgiving plan together this year, I was also trying to find ways to incorporate as much winter squash as possible. And because I love cornbread, bacon, and dates, I felt like it was only natural to make a cornbread stuffing that combined all of these things and some pureed roasted squash from the yard.
Cornbread stuffing outside of the bird can be tricky. When you make stuffing inside the bird, all the flavors from the meat and fats and bones of the bird seep into the cornbread stuffing as it cooked, making for an incredibly flavorful bunch of bread crumbs. But when you make it outside the bird, you don’t have all of that flavor to draw from, and you instead have to provide it in the form of seasonings, flavorful fats, and good cooking stock. I used Progresso’s new chicken cooking stock here, they’ve debuted a new line made from actual bone broth so the flavor is rich and pure. For the seasonings, I stuck with my turkey trio, which is sage, thyme, and rosemary (and of course salt and pepper, but that’s kind of a given). For the fat, I used butter and the pan drippings from the bacon, because you don’t get much more flavorful fats than those two. When you combine all of this with the sweetness from the dates, the warmth from the cornbread, and the savoriness from the stock, you get a cornbread stuffing that is absolutely unforgettable.
Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon and Dates
- 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 Progresso 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.
This post is sponsored by Progresso, but all thoughts and opinions are my own, per usual!