Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix. Trader Joe’s is awash in holiday food right now and sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on regular day-to-day shopping. I nearly tripped over the mountain of Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix the other day and thought, “What the hell, how bad can it be?” The answer is not all that bad, but not that great either! Plus, it’s not cornbread. More on that at the end of the review!
My mother’s stuffing recipe is one of the best and I carry on the tradition and make stuffing from scratch every year for Thanksgiving (or whenever we have a turkey). It takes a couple of days because you have to dry the bread for a couple of days and then break it up by hand (kids love doing this). Then saute some celery, carrot, onions, and some bacon in a large pan with a lot of olive oil, salt, pepper, and poultry seasonings.
I like to enhance it by throwing in a ton of parsley, thyme, and sage. Then I mix this with the dried bread and then add a ton of chicken or turkey stock until the bread is just damp but not soggy. I used to be a stuffing purest. I only put stuffing in the turkey like was traditional in ye olde times but not I am less of a purist. I either bake it in a dish or make stuffing muffins.
Either way, making stuffing from scratch is a multi-day affair, especially if you dry the bread from scratch like my mother and grandmother used to do.
Trader Joe’s has carried a cornbread stuffing mix for years and I’ve always been tempted to try it. I finally bit the bullet and grabbed a box the other day and made it to review for this blog (and also thinking about Thanksgiving!)
It looks pretty simple to prepare. There is a bag of dried cornbread stuffing in the box and a smaller bag of seasonings. You heat up 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water, and 1/4 cup of butter, and bring to a boil dump the packet of seasonings in there and simmer for a few minutes then dump it all on the dried cornbread and fold until everything is well mixed. I opted for the 3 1/2 cups of water because I like my stuffing a little drier but even that was too wet for me.
I mixed everything together put it in an oiled baking dish and put foil on top for 35 minutes. Then I removed the foil and baked for another 10 minutes to crisp up the top a bit. It really looked and smelled good.
Alas, that did not carry through when I tasted it. First, even though I opted for the lower end of the wetness factor on the stuffing, it still turned out quite mushy in the middle of the dish. What I would do is slowly add the liquid before I bake it and make sure it is the right consistency before I put it in the oven.
We also have to talk about the flavor. It really wasn’t all that bad but it really wasn’t anything to write home about either. It just lacked the depth of flavor that I’ve come to expect from stuffing. There was a fair amount of herbs, dominated by sage. I really like to see chunks of vegetables in my stuffing and there aren’t really any with this mix.
I’m sure you could try and doctor this up a bit, but making your own stuffing is pretty easy you can buy the pre-dried bread and just follow a simple recipe and you will have something that is much better than the Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix. There are probably other stuffing mixes out there on the market that are better than this, but this is the first I have ever tried. I take my stuffing very seriously and this just didn’t cut it for me for the lack of flavor and how goopy it was.
[UPDATE] – Since I wrote this review a while back it has come to my attention that the title is misleading for this product. They say “Cornbread Stuffing Mix”, but in reality, it’s mostly white bread and some cornbread “croutons”. I’m not sure why they did this. It’s a little disingenuous to say it’s cornbread stuff.
I am going to rate the Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix 6 bells for flavor but 1 bells for deceiving about what this is.
Toasted white bread and cornbread croutons (enriched flour (Wheat Flour, malted barley flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), sugar, salt, cornmeal, wheat gluten, sunflower oil, yeast, canola oil, ascorbic acid [vitamin c], rosemary extract), dehydrated onion, seasoning (salt, sugar, chicken broth, onion powder, spices, soybean oil, garlic powder, turmeric, parsley), dehydrated celery, dehydrated button mushroom, parsley.
Made on shared equipment with eggs, milk, and fish.