Chef Jens Peter Smith from the heralded Farm & Table, in Albuquerque’s North Valley, offers this must-have side dish for your holiday table, complete with authentically New Mexico flavor.
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild)
½ cup diced celery (¼-inch pieces)
1 cup diced onion (¼-inch pieces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup green chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, and ¼-inch diced, or to taste
½ cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
6 cups cubed day-old cornbread (or cornbread that’s been dried in a low-heat oven)
3 cups cubed sourdough or other favorite bread
Preheat oven to 325°. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add sausage. Brown the meat, using a spatula to break it into small chunks. When cooked through, remove meat from pan, and drain excess fat from both the meat and the pan, leaving behind 2 tablespoons.
Return pan to medium heat and add celery, onion, green chile, and garlic. Cook until vegetables sweat and onions are translucent.
Deglaze pan by adding 2 tablespoons of chicken stock, stirring to scrape up any caramelized bits from the bottom. Return sausage to pan. Mix to combine. Place mixture in a bowl and allow to cool in the fridge, about 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and fresh herbs. Add the cooled vegetable mixture and cubed bread. Toss well. Place in a buttered 3-quart baking dish and bake 35–40 minutes until nicely browned.