Cornbread Oyster Dressing

Peter Frank Edwards
by Francine Maroukian - Feb/March 2010

Chef Edward Lee shares his recipe for oyster dressing

"Growing up in a fairly conventional Korean family, Thanksgiving dinners were pretty awful at best. The only part I liked were the chestnuts. We ate them roasted, boiled, mashed in sticky rice, or right out of the shell. Nowadays, I’m the master of ceremonies when it comes to turkey dinners, but I’m not ready to let go of my childhood. The warm briny oysters are the perfect foil for the earthy sweetness of the chestnuts. Throw in the country ham, and you’ve got a complex balance of salt and sweet that will stand up to all the other flavors at the holiday table—or any other time you’ve got turkey in your game plan." —Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, Kentucky

2 lb. unsweetened cornbread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
¾ cup melted unsalted butter (1½ sticks)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium onions)
1½ cups chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 oz. country ham (the saltier the better), finely diced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
About 18 to 20 freshly shucked oysters, roughly chopped with liquor reserved
1 cup chicken broth
¾ cup milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
A few more tsp. unsalted butter
15 roasted chestnuts, peeled and rough chopped