Cornbread Dressing with Chestnuts and Foie Gras

Combining the crumbly delight of cornbread with sturdy sourdough loaf gives this stuffing body and flavor nuance. Chestnuts bring sweetness while the foie gras adds silky texture and a delightful surprise. Try it for the holidays - or any day, with roasted chicken or duck.
Cornbread Dressing with Chestnuts and Foie Gras

Ingredients

  • 8-inch cornbread, storebought or homemade
  • Equal amount of day-old sourdough bread
  • 4 tablespoons duck fat 
  • 14 ounces fully cooked chestnuts coarsely chopped
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed 
  • 8 oz foie gras (use 4 foie gras slices or equivalent foie gras cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon sage, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces chicken stock, more as needed
  • Flake salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Whole pink peppercorns 

Preparation

  1. Bake or purchase an 8-inch cornbread. If baking, reduce or eliminate the sugar; this will keep the dressing from being too sweet.
  2. Break cornbread into medium-sized chunks, and tear sourdough into equal size pieces. Place on a sheet pan and toast in a 350-degree oven until golden and somewhat crispy.
  3. Coarsely chop chestnuts, place in a cast iron pan or baking dish in a single layer, oven with 3 tablespoons of duck fat and smashed garlic clove, then sprinkle pink peppercorns, flake salt, and chopped sage on top. Place in the 350-degree F oven to marry all the flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Season foie gras slices with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron pan then sear foie gras slices until browned, about 20 seconds on each side; remove, and set aside on paper towels to drain. Leave the foie gras fat in the pan.
  5. Saute shallots in foie gras fat over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add chopped celery and remove pan from heat; this adds crunchy texture.
  6. Deglaze the pan with 2-3 ounces of chicken stock.
  7. Add the toasted cornbread and sourdough bread to the pan. Pour ½ cup of heavy cream over the mixture, stir gently to moisten. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if necessary.
  8. Remove the smashed garlic from the chestnuts, then add the chestnuts to the bread mixture. Pour a little more duck fat into the mix, add chopped sage, stir gently, and cook on the stovetop to heat throughout.
  9. Cut the cooked foie gras into bite-sized pieces. With a spoon open up a few spaces in the mixture and place the foie gras throughout the cornbread. Mix gently.
  10. Place the cast iron pan with the mixture back in the 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, to form a crust on the bottom of the dressing. Finish under the broiler to lightly crisp the top of the dressing, keeping an eye on it to prevent burning.
  11. Remove from oven, and garnish with crushed pink peppercorn and whole sage leaves. Serve in the cast iron pan or transfer to a platter or bowl.