A friend of a friend posted this recipe on facebook, and I had all the ingredients (except cornbread!) so I decided to try it. The recipe comes from food.com, follow the link below.
I chose a new cornbread recipe to try out for this dressing, a true Southern unsweetened corn bread. I baked the cornbread in the morning, crumbled it and let it dry most of the day (rather than overnight).
For some reason this took some time to put together, longer than I expected. Perhaps in part due to peeling the shrimp? Or maybe because I recently moved my computer out of the kitchen (what??) and refused to print out the recipe...Anyway, allow yourself some time for this. It is a colorful dish when it's going together, and smells great.
On first taste, I have to admit I wasn't impressed. It was okay, but I didn't know if I'd make it again. But this dressing grew on me, and by the end of the dinner I was in definite *like* with it...more and more. I can now say that I really like it. And I can't wait to taste it tomorrow, as a leftover.
Bayou Eggplant and Shrimp Dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
10 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (dried overnight)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 eggs, beaten
1 -1 1/2 cup chicken broth (or as needed) or 1 -1 1/2 cup turkey broth (or as needed)
3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste
Heat the oil (medium heat) in a large non-stick skillet. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute/stir for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the eggplant, stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until the eggplant is tender; stir frequently.
Add the shrimp and Cajun seasoning; cook/stir for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink. Put the shrimp mixture into a large mixing bowl; add in the crumbled cornbread and parsley.
Gradually stir in the eggs and approximately 1 cup broth, until the mixture is evenly moist but not soggy. Season to with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a buttered casserole dish; drizzle with 1/2 cup broth.
Cover and bake in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes; uncover the last 15 minutes of cooking time if you want a crusty dressing.