Thanksgiving stuffing is a family tradition which remains largely unchanged for generations, and talk of tweaking it can be seen as treason.
Then in 2020, the pandemic hit and sadly, many of us are spending Thanksgiving without any extended family. I decided this was the year to make the stuffing I always dreamed of but never dared attempt. It’s full of traditional Mexican flavors, like chorizo, corn and poblano chile, with a nod to Oaxaca culinary tradition using walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
It hits all the right notes; comforting, spicy, crispy and familiar.
Mexican Thanksgiving Stuffing
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Yields: 8-10 servings
1 16 oz box of Stonewall Kitchen Cornbread mix
1 eight-inch square slice of cornbread. Will yield approximately 8-10 cups of loosely packed dried cornbread croutons needed for stuffing.
Notes: Make the cornbread early. The day before is ideal because it needs to cool, then cut up and baked.
Preparing Fried Oyster Tacos
- Make the cornbread according to the Stonewall Kitchen package instructions in an 8x8 inch bake pan.
- Let it cool.
- Remove from the bake pan, then cut into large cubes.
- Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, then bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until it’s toasted and dry.
- Remove from the oven, then place in a large bowl. Notes: Bowl should be large enough to hold all the ingredients below.
Stuffing Mixture Ingredients
2 tablespoons shortening or fat/oil of your choice
1 ½ pounds Mexican pork chorizo, casing removed
4 stalks celery, chopped finely and evenly
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Two poblano peppers, stemmed and deseeded, chopped into cubes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon sage finely chopped
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
3-4 cups of Swanson organic, low sodium Chicken Stock (or the chicken stock of your preference)
* Note: Save ½ cup for wet ingredients, the remaining will go into the
2 tablespoons butter to dot the stuffing before baking.
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Preparing the stuffing
- In a large skillet on medium high heat, brown the chorizo. Try not to break it up too much so it stays in big chunks. Make sure not to crowd the pan so that it browns, not steams, approximately 10-15 minutes.
*Note: You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your skillet.
When browned and cooked, remove chorizo from the skillet and put aside.
*Note: Don’t clean the skillet.
Add shortening or oil over medium heat.
Add onions, garlic, celery, poblanos and salt to the skillet, and cook until softened.
When softened, add cumin, smoked paprika, thyme, rosemary, sage, brown sugar, walnuts and cranberries.
Cook until heated throughout, about 5 minutes.
Add the chorizo back to the pan.
Then add ½ cup of the stock to deglaze the pan, and let it gently cook until liquid is absorbed, about 7 minutes.
- In the large bowl where the toasted cornbread is waiting, add everything from the skillet to the bowl.
- Pour in the remaining chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, gently stirring until the cornbread feels just soft, but not mushy. You may not use all the stock, it depends on how much is absorbed by the cornbread.
- After the chicken stock is added, taste for seasoning. Let it sit together for a few minutes to ensure that all the liquid is absorbed.
- Butter a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
- Place the stuffing in the dish to bake. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
- Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 25 to 35 minutes until crisp on top.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds once it comes out of the oven. This will allow the pomegranate seeds to warm up nicely.
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