Recipe by carmenhcollins
Just the right portion, crusty on all sides, and with the perfect punch of tartness in the center.
For the Stuffing
- 3 (12 ounce) boxes cornbread stuffing mix (I like the Trader Joe's kind- includes a seasoning packet)
- 2 (32 ounce) boxes low sodium chicken broth (I like College Inn)
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (I like the Publix kind that comes in one long casing- easier to cut, vs. several sausages)
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced onions (yes- why bother dicing yourself?)
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced celery (again... )
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced shallots, onion, and garlic (this is a killer mix I found at Trader Joe's)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 eggs
For the Cranberry Filling
- 2 (12 ounce) bags fresh cranberries
- 2 -3 cups orange juice
- 1 1⁄2 cups spicy pecans (can be found at Trader Joe's, or use regular pecans)
- 1 full orange, zest of
- 2 1⁄2 cups brown sugar
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cooking spray into muffin pan.
- In large skillet, heat olive oil to high heat. Slit sausage casing, and remove ground sausage. Break up sausage in pan, then turn to medium heat just before fully cooked. Add the three containers of onions, garlic, shallots, and celery and cook all until sausage is done and onions are translucent. Add seasoning packet that came with Stuffing mix (or not, if you bought the kind that’s pre-seasoned), and add one of the chicken broth boxes. Heat all ingredients until bubbly, then add thyme and sage just before removing from heat.
- Pour all stuffing mix all into one very large bowl. Then pour all contents of pan plus the additional box of broth over stuffing mix. Stir all together with two large serving spoons. Set aside.
- Rinse and drain cranberries, then heat in orange juice until juice is boiling and all cranberries pop open and become mushy. Watch that the juice doesn’t boil over, so turn it down to low and keep it at a simmer. In a food processor, pulse orange zest and pecans together to get a medium ground. Strain cooked cranberries from orange juice and mix them with the zest, pecans, and brown sugar.
- Just before baking, add the four eggs to the stuffing mix. Stir well, coating all stuffing.
- Spoon stuffing into muffin cups, halfway, and make a bit of a well for the cranberry filling. Just not all the way to the bottom. Spoon about 1 ½ tablespoon of cranberry filling into each muffin cup, then come back over and fill the muffins the rest of the way, covering the cranberry filling entirely. They won’t rise, so they can be filled to the top. Keep the cranberry filling buried within the stuffing, since the filling is sugary and will caramelize when baked, and you don’t want it to cause the muffin to stick into the pan.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 min, or until bubbly and golden brown/crusty on top. Let cool in muffin pans and run a butter knife around the inside of each cup to loosen each muffin. That way if any of the cranberry filling has leaked out and gotten sticky, it won’t cause the muffin to break apart. They will be dense so it’s best to use a plate upside down on top of the muffin pan, then flip over to remove the muffins. Makes 30 large muffins.