Pan de Elote Dressing

November  9, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Rick Andrew Martinez
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

Pan de elote is a sweet Mexican bread made with fresh corn. Because the corn here is more starchy than American corn, no flour is used to bake the bread. The fresh corn is taken off the cobs; pureed and mixed with beaten eggs, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, baking powder, and butter; and baked in cake pans, mini loaves, or muffin tins. Because there is no flour, the texture is almost like a cream corn pudding but with the lift of the baking powder.

This was the perfect ingredient to make a Sweet Heat Thanksgiving Dressing. I used chile serranos and poblano to add the heat and to pull the pan out of dessert territory and into savory.

There is a brand of chorizo here in the state of Sinaloa that I love and eat almost exclusively because it’s spicy, tangy, and a little fermented. Little did I know chorizo Goliz was a cultural icon because of a commercial they produced several years ago featuring a family pondering what to eat for breakfast. This chorizo adds and incredible Sinaloan flavor to the dressing and also gives the pan a beautiful red tint.

You probably won’t find either pan de elote or Sinaloan chorizo in your local grocery store, but any sweet cornbread or corn muffin, plus your favorite brand of spicy chorizo, will work just great.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be baked at 350°F up to three days ahead. Let cool, then chill. Reheat in a 350°F oven before increasing temperature to 425°F and removing foil. —Rick Martinez

What You'll Need
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Pan de Elote Dressing
  • 3 pounds pan de elote or sweet cornbread, broken into 3/4-inch pieces (about 15 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds chorizo, casings removed if needed
  • 1/2 cup rendered lard, plus more for pan
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 chile poblano, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 chiles serranos, stemmed and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 1 1/2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt), plus more to season vegetable mixture
  • 5 ounces totopos, tostadas, or good quality corn chips, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Divide the pan de elote evenly between two large rimmed baking sheets and bake, tossing occasionally, until the cubes dried out and lightly browned around the edges, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup (half) of the lard in a large skillet over medium-high and cook the chorizo, breaking up large clumps with a spoon, until browned and but not completely cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup lard in the same skillet and add onions, poblano, serrano, celery, and garlic; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chiles. Cook, stirring once, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broken tostadas and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the vegetables are starting to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the sage and thyme and toss to combine. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pan de elote, reserved chorizo, and cooked vegetable mixture. In a separate, medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs and remaining 3 1/2 cups stock until very well combined. Pour the eggs over the pan de elote mixture and let it sit, gently stirring every minute or so, until the bread has absorbed all or virtually all of the liquid. Season with salt (about 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 1 1/2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt) and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Lightly grease a 3-quart. or 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Transfer dressing to dish and tap dish lightly against counter to distribute and compact dressing. Cover tightly with foil and bake until dressing is very hot throughout and bubbles appear around sides, 40 to 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and remove foil. Continue to bake dressing until top is lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

5 Reviews

taylorp December 30, 2020
An absolute favorite among friends and family. I've made this twice now, and it's always so delicious.
Lisa G. November 15, 2020
Enjoyed this recipe and video instructions. Would love to incorporate more Mexican menus to our family rotation so more please! Will be making this for four people on Thanksgiving. Do you recommend exactly halving this recipe?
Debsnyderii November 14, 2020
Love Rick’s videos! Very informative and entertaining. My family loves Mexican food and I’m definitely trying this for our Thanksgiving!!
Ticketytwo November 12, 2020
I enjoyed this video and that looks delicious.
mimolette November 12, 2020
definitely going to make this. Rick, loved the video too. You are a really good teacher. Lots of good information/cooking tips. And I really appreciate that you have included the amount of salt in the recipe instead of just saying to taste. Too many recipes are not specific enough about seasoning and stuffing, with so many flavors going on, needs at least a baseline amount of salt to bring it together. Thanks for not making us guess that baseline.