Gluten free Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing is made in steps and is worth every one of them. The turkey stuffing recipe showcases the flavours of the American southwest with spicy chorizo sausage, roasted peppers and cilantro. It's simply amazing!
Making the cornbread recipe is the first step. It's made with cornmeal and corn flour but it can be hard to find gluten free corn flour. That's why I include the option to use a gluten free flour blend in place of corn flour too.
If you like cornbread don't skip this recipe. In case you can't wait to see the rest of the turkey dinner menu I'll tell you, there is an ancho chile gravy thickened with masa harina. Once I switched my original cornbread recipe for a gluten free one the whole menu was gluten free.
Stuffing vs Dressing
The debate will never end but generally if you stuff the cavity of your bird with the mixture it is most often referred to as stuffing. Since there is always more than can fit, you can cook the remaining stuffing in a casserole dish. This is when it's often called dressing.
Geography also plays an important part in cooking terms. In the south people are more likely to call this dressing, as you go north more people refer to it as stuffing.
In my extended family no one cares what you call it. As long as there's plenty of it on the table everyone is happy.
Pros and Cons of Stuffing a Turkey
For families who must have old fashioned stuffing made with wheat bread cooking it on the side ensures the turkey is safe for everyone including gluten free eaters. Surely this is a compromise you can convince family members to do for your safety.
If your stuffing is gluten free, like this cornbread stuffing, then there's no right or wrong. Stuffing cooked inside the bird will be nice and moist but it takes longer to cook the turkey.
If you pack the mixture into a casserole dish and cook it separately, it will be a little drier and some people prefer that.
I do both, stuff my turkey and cook an extra casserole dish on the side.
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Organize For Success
There's no doubt that cooking a turkey is a big job so organization is key. I make cornbread stuffing from scratch so it takes time but using my tried-and-true cornbread recipe makes it seem easy. I'm not wondering what pan to use or hoping the recipe will turn out. I know it works in my kitchen.
Once the cooked cornbread cools slightly I take it out of the pans to cool completely. I eat some while it's still warm then cut up the 12 cups of cornbread cubes I need for the recipe. I crisp the cubes in the oven then it can be set aside for the final mixing.
This can all be done the day before your turkey dinner or even one to two weeks in advance and frozen.
The final step is to make the sausage mixture, combine everything and put it in the fridge overnight. I'm never sure how much will fit into the turkey so I don't fill the casserole dish until I'm stuffing the bird.
What Are Stuffing Balls
Stuffing balls are just individual servings of stuffing and you'll always need more than one. They're a cute idea, can be made large or small and even served as an appetizer. My friend cooks hers in a regular size muffin pan to avoid the usual clean up.
To make these I simply made a few tweaks to this recipe. For more tips on making them check out this post, Cornbread Sausage Stuffing Balls.
Kitchen Tools for Making Stuffing
The morning I'm cooking my big bird I fill it with as much stuffing as it will hold then transfer the rest into a casserole dish. For big meals it's worth owning a few large serving dishes and you'll easily find other uses for them throughout the year.
Here are some tools for cooking stuffing and making stuffing balls.
- Corning White has a large selection of shapes and sizes with or without lids. I like white because it goes with everything.
- Any kind of lasagna pan will work too. From the most basic glass pan, to the popular ceramic coated ones, all the way up to the high end Le Creuset cast iron pans.
- The inexpensive pyrex 2-quart casserole dishes are extremely versatile and will last a lifetime. I have a few sizes with no lids, but if I was buying now I'd get the lid.
- Portion scoops are not just for ice cream! Get a set of three if you don't have any and you'll suddenly see all the things you can do with them.
KITCHEN TIP: Write yourself a note! With so many things going on at a big dinner it's easy to miss something, like getting the extra casserole dish of stuffing in the oven on time. I only forgot it once and now I write myself a note. Make it big and put it in an obvious spot.
Recipes for a Gluten Free Turkey Dinner
- It all starts with this tried-and-true basic recipe for cornbread.
- This stuffing is part of my Turkey Feast that features an Achiote Butter Basted Turkey, a turkey that always gets a name. Read how and why we name our turkey and let me know if you have a tradition like that too!
- Ancho Chile Gravy is a must but we decided we didn't want to wait all year to have it again. This version uses the drippings from a roasted chicken or chicken wings and I posted it in this recipe for Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy.
- If you're new to gluten free gravy here are my tips in a blog post, How To Make Gluten Free Gravy.
- I serve both homemade and canned cranberry sauce. I was hesitant to put hazelnuts in this Cranberry Orange Cilantro Salsa but after the first bite I was hooked and I've never looked back!
- Make stuffing balls just for fun - Cornbread Sausage Stuffing Balls.
This gluten free Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing may just be the highlight of my Southwestern inspired turkey dinner. But the Ancho Chile Gravy is pretty amazing too!
Let me know in the comments below if you made it and what you call it, stuffing or dressing?
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Gluten Free Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing
- 12 cups cubed cornbread (I double my cornbread recipe, link in notes)
- 1 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed
- 2 large onion, chopped
- 2 red peppers, chopped
- 1 fresh Anaheim chile, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅔ cup gluten free chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cut cooked cornbread into ½ inch cubes and spread in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Cool. Put into a very large bowl.
- Cook the chorizo in a large skillet over medium-high heat until brown, breaking the sausage meat into pieces while stirring, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Cut with a knife if you prefer smaller pieces. Add to cornbread.
- Put onion, red pepper and Anaheim chile in the same pan and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Add to cornbread along with the cilantro and oregano.
- Pour chicken stock on cornbread mixture and stir until evenly combined. Reserve some to stuff the bird and put remaining into a greased casserole dish. Stuffing can be prepared to this point one day in advance and refrigerated.
- Stuff the turkey, including the neck cavity, then cook according to directions for the turkey, in a preheated 325°F oven.
- Spoon stuffing out of the turkey and into a serving dish. Cover with foil until ready to serve.
- Cook stuffing casserole in the oven for 1 hour. This can be during the last 30 minutes of the turkey cooking time and the 30 minutes while the turkey is resting. Serve hot with Ancho Chile Gravy.