20-25 stuffed oyster shells
1 ¾ pounds cornbread
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 ¾ cups onion, chopped
1 ¼ cups celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
5 ounces country ham (the saltier the better), finely diced
1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
About 20 oysters, freshly shucked and roughly chopped, reserving shells,
Liquid (“liquor”) from the oysters
¾ cup chicken broth
¾ cup milk
3 large eggs
A few more teaspoons of butter for top
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cube cornbread into ½-inch cubes. Toss melted butter with cornbread and lay out flat on a baking sheet, crumbs and all. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until a nice toasty color forms.
- Meanwhile, melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Sauté onions, celery, and garlic until vegetables are translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer cooked vegetables to a large bowl. Toss gently with toasted cornbread. Add diced country ham, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add oysters with liquor. Mix with a rubber spatula.
- Warm chicken broth and milk together in a small pot just until simmering. Add to stuffing mixture.
- Beat eggs lightly and fold into stuffing mixture
- Lightly butter a 13×9-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to baking dish, dot with a few teaspoons of butter, and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees. Bake, covered with foil, for 35 minutes.
- While dressing is baking, clean out oyster shells. When dressing is done, scoop large spoonfuls to stuff oyster shells. Bake for 5 minutes uncovered. Serve immediately on wooden platters.
- from Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky