I’ve said it before, and I’ll gladly say it again: It isn’t thanksgiving without cornbread stuffing with longganisa. So, of course, in my first thanksgiving away from home I decided to make my mama’s stuffing recipe. This is the stuffing I always ask for, demand really. But this was my first year actually making it alone.
But first, context. As you know I moved away from home. And like I said, this was my first thanksgiving not with my parents at home. It always sucks to miss holidays at home. But luckily, one of the things I’m most thankful for is that my mom taught me to cook. So while I couldn’t have her here, I could have some of the foods she makes that I crave on this holiday. Another thing I’m insanely thankful for? Family and friends here that I could spend thanksgiving with. So while I wasn’t with my parents, I still felt like I was with some family.
But it also meant that I was in charge of prepping and cooking our meal. We were having lunch instead of dinner, and we decided against turkey. I’ve never made thanksgiving before. So naturally it was a bit overwhelming to think about. The fact that I had to wake up hella early to have all the food cooked before noon didn’t help! But I took a page out of my own blog and took it one step at a time. We set a menu: roasted duck, two stuffings (one vegetarian), roasted broccoli, and rice. I gave dessert to someone else. And I scheduled myself and managed the timing.
But back to stuffing! I was excited to try making this stuffing alone. The recipe is a variation of one by Aarón Sánchez from the Food Network. His is called Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing. Chorizo is a Spanish or Mexican pork sausage made from peppers. But I am Filipino, and while we like chorizo, we love our own pork sausages. So, basically the biggest difference is that instead of chorizo, we use longganisa.
Longganisa is a Filipino pork sausage. I’ve used it in many recipes before, and it’s a staple of Filipino brunch. But it’s also what makes this stuffing so damn good! Chorizo is salty and mildly spicy. Longganisa is a smoky, slightly sour, and mostly sweet sausage. It is primarily flavored with the classic Filipino combo of soy sauce and vinegar. Then there’s a bit of sugar and other spices. It cures overnight then comes out amazing when cooked. But for this recipe, I rely on the local Filipino grocery store.
The sweetness in the longganisa complements the cornbread perfectly. The vegetables add some spices and different textures. Once you have everything sauteed, combine it with the crumbled cornbread in a casserole dish. You choose what kind of cornbread you want. I always go for the classic sweet cornbread. Pour in enough chicken stock to soak through to the bottom. Then bake! Serve it with some turkey and Mang Tomas (Filipino gravy sauce) and you’ve got yourself the best damn thanksgiving ever.
In case you’re an interested vegetarian—or feed one—I only made slight adjustments for the stuffing. I added everything except the longganisa (obviously). Instead of chicken stock I used veggie stock (again, obviously). But I also used jalapeño cornbread instead of plain just to add an extra element of spice and kick. It was quite tasty, if I do brag so myself.
Anyways, if you try this dish let me know! It’s a thanksgiving favorite, sure. But I’d also just make it as a delicious side dish for any occasion. I love it that much! It’s hard to be away from home during the holidays. But cooking food my mama taught me makes me feel a like I have a piece with me. I’m thankful that I can make food I love. And I’m thankful I get to share it with all of you! Hope you had a fantastic holiday—and some delicious food! Next up: the most wonderful time of year!!!
What’s your favorite stuffing? How was your holiday away from home?
Cornbread Stuffing with Longganisa
- 2-3 cups sweet cornbread crumbled
- 1 lb longganisa crumbled
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 bunch carrots chopped
- 2-3 celery stalks chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, lightly fry the longganisa until slightly browned--about 5 min. Break into small pieces. DO NOT OVER COOK! You're still going to bake it. Remove to plate.
Lower to medium heat. Saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the same oil until slightly browned and softened--about 7 min. Again, DO NOT OVERCOOK! Add the longganisa and mix. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, crumble the cornbread. Mix in the cilantro. Add the longganisa-vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.
Grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking oil. Spread the stuffing in an even layer. Press the top down until flat. Pour in the stock and press down again.
Bake uncovered until until heated through and lightly browned on top--about 20-25 min. Serve with turkey and gravy!
**This recipe is a variation of one by Aarón Sánchez from The Food Network. Link to original recipe is in blog post.