Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing!

Stuffing is the best part of thanksgiving. It always has been. The stuffing of my youth came from mysterious dried cubes of bread in a bag ...

Stuffing is the best part of thanksgiving. It always has been. The stuffing of my youth came from mysterious dried cubes of bread in a bag with some spices mixed in. And it was really good tasting somehow. I told Alex we were having stuffing for dinner tonight and he thought I meant I was making a box of "Stovetop" stuffing and got excited. When I told him I was making real stuffing from places that aren't a cardboard box, he was slightly disappointed. This cardboard box of impostor stuffing seems to have brainwashed us all. Tonight I tried to make it my mission to change everyone's mind about where stuffing oughta come from.

The last time I watched a food network thanksgiving special, everyone's new favorite stuffing was a cornbread and sausage stuffing. Giada made one, Anne Burrell made one, Bobby made one and so did Aaron Sanchez. Except he made his with chorizo instead. Since then, I have been making my own version of chorizo-cornbread stuffing for all holidays, and sometimes, weeknights. Like tonight. I've seen a bunch more chorizo-cornbread recipes on blogs throughout the vegan community too, so this killer stuffing combo is a becoming a widespread classic.
I love using chorizo in this stuffing for the smoky spicy flavor, but this weekend I went to the store in search of some veggie chorizo, but found only some field roast chipotle sausages. They worked just as well. You can definitely make your own chorizo with tempeh or seitan, and I often do, but like I said, tonight is a wednesday, not Christmas. 

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing:

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon salt

4 poblano peppers
2 jalapeño peppers
1 large bell pepper
1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 ribs celery, sliced 
15 cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
3 links vegan chorizo sausage, like field roast, or homemade, sliced lengthwise and chopped.
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat broiler. In a cast-iron skillet, arrange the poblanos, bell and jalapeño peppers. Broil for about 8 minutes until skin is charred. Flip and broil second side about 5 minutes. Remove from broiler and place peppers in a paper bag. Roll the paper bag up to seal peppers inside. They will steam in the bag and their skins will loosen for easy peelin' ;)
Turn the heat to 350ºF. In a 9x13 baking dish, spray some canola oil spray or line with parchment or silpat. Whisk together oil, sugar, veggie broth, and almond milk. Slowly mix in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cumin and chile powder. Pour into baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the center of the cornbread is cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Slice into cubes and set aside.
Once peppers are cool, peel away skins from peppers. Slice poblano and bell peppers into 3 or 4 strips and scrape out the seeds with your knife. Cut away any white veins. I like to leave the seeds and stuff in my jalapeños, but if you don't like a lot of heat, you can seed those too. Wear gloves if you're doing that. Slice the skinned peppers into 1 inch pieces.
Heat olive oil in a 4-quart soup pot and sauté onion. After 3 minutes add garlic, carrots and celery. Once some liquid has been released from the veggies, add mushrooms, poblanos, bell pepper and jalapeño peppers. Cook together about 10 minutes and add spices and herbs. Stir and cook about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper. 
Meanwhile in a cast-iron skillet, sauté the chorizo until brown, adding peanut or olive oil if desired for crispiness. 
Turn oven heat up to 400ºF.
Stir cornbread cubes and chorizo into vegetable mixture. The cornbread will crumble but jut use your spoon or spatula to moisten it with the juices from the veggies. Once everything is stirred together, pour it into a baking dish and press down firmly with your spatula to press all the stuffing together. Bake about 35 minutes, or until the top is light brown and crispy.
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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