Creole Corn Bread, Andouille and Pecan Stuffing

2 pans of homemade corn bread – allow to sit out so it becomes slightly stale (can be substituted with packaged corn bread stuffing mix)
1 lb. Andouille or other spicy smoked sausage diced into 1/4” sized pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup crushed pecans (optional)
1/2 cup of butter
2 cups coarsely chopped sweet or Vidalia onions
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 cup coarsely chopped bell pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup shallots or green onions
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of thyme
2 cups of chicken or turkey stock
1/2 cup Don Q Añejo rum
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar

PROCEDURE: If you are making your own corn bread, do that first and set aside. Crumble when slightly stale. Chop and dice all remaining ingredients. In a 4-quart pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Sauté the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, parsley and shallots until tender. Don’t let the butter burn!

Stir in the chopped sausage, mushroom and pecans and sauté for about 4 minutes. When all ingredients are blended nicely add 1/2 cup of Don Q Añejo rum. Continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until the alcohol is cooked off. You want the wonderful tannins, caramels and vanilla from the rum to really shine through. Add the Worcestershire sauce, basil, black pepper and brown sugar. While simmering, add
1 1/2 cup of poultry stock. Remove from heat and add the corn bread. Add the pinch of thyme and mix thoroughly. The stuffing should be slightly moist, but not too much so. Add additional stock if needed to get the consistency you prefer. Remember, it will pick up more juices once it is in the bird or other meat you will stuff. Set aside for about 10 minutes and stir the mix every 10 minutes for about 1/2 hour. Then refrigerate or stuff.