Recipe courtesy of Jerome Grant

Cast-Iron Oyster and Cornbread Stuffing

Growing up in the mid-Atlantic region, my family has always included oysters as a big part of our dining table. This recipe is the perfect way to incorporate these typically uncooked gems into the traditional Thanksgiving spread and pay homage to the early Black oyster farmers of America. The briny and buttery flavor combined with the sweet cornbread is sure to be the talk of the table!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

Special equipment:
an oyster knife, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the ham and cook, infusing the butter with the ham flavor, about 5 minutes. Remove the ham to a large mixing bowl with the cornbread, leaving the butter in the skillet. 
  3. Add the garlic, celery, leeks, onions, sage and thyme to the skillet with the flavored butter. Sweat the vegetable mixture over medium heat, stirring as needed, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and continue to cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the oyster liquor and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  4. Add the oysters to the mixing bowl with the cornbread and ham. Pour the cooled vegetables into the mixing bowl and lightly mix together. Season with salt and pepper, then fold in the parsley and eggs (see Cook's Note).
  5. Grease the inside of the same skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer the cornbread mixture to the skillet, making sure it's evenly distributed throughout the skillet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is nice and browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving, about 10 minutes. 

Cook’s Note

If you do not have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, this recipe can be made in a 8-inch-square casserole dish. Feel free to substitute tasso ham with any other smoked pork product; use bacon or country ham for a classic taste, or Andouille sausage or chorizo to kick up the spice! If you're short on time, use boxed cornbread mix or pre-made cornbread. Just make sure you dry it overnight! Fresh pre-shucked oysters in liquor can be purchased for ease. If the cornbread mixture appears to be on the drier side, don't fret! Simply add more stock. The final mixture should be moist enough to clump together but not have excess liquid pooled at the bottom.

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