Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Sometimes when the pressure of life just gets to be too much I like to sit back, relax, and ponder the important things…
Do you call it soda or pop? Is it pronounced crawfish or crayfish? Do you call coleslaw “slaw”?
… And most importantly, given the time of year it is, is it stuffing or dressing?
I guess I like to think of myself as Switzerland; I’m rather neutral when it comes to these touchy issues and pronunciations. I typically interchange saying stuffing and dressing and I honestly don’t know which one I use more or which one is more correct. The only strong opinion I have on the issue of stuffing/dressing is that whatever you want to call it, it’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner.
Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving dish, but mine has always been stuffing. I could (and usually do) eat plate after plate of it. I love me some mashed potatoes and turkey, but I just can’t get enough dressing.
A note on the cornbread: I make my own cornbread from scratch but you can buy it from a bakery or make some from a mix. My cubes were around an inch, but feel free to cut any size you desire. You can use stale cornbread, or if using fresh, cut into cubes and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees (stirring occasionally). You want your cubes to be browned and dry. Also, I’ve never measured how much cornbread I use (super helpful, right?!?!?!). I cubed an entire recipe of cornbread I made, which was made in a 10-inch pan (although what you would make in a 9-inch pan would work just fine as well).
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
- 8-12 cups cubed cornbread (see above note)
- 1 lb sausage (either ground sausage, or sausage removed from the casing)
- 1 small onion, small dice
- 3 ribs celery, small dice
- 1 scant cup pecans, medium chopped
- 1 scant cup dried cranberries
- 8 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary (leaves removed from stem), finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees*.
In a large sauté pan, brown sausage (the sausage I use is pretty fatty, so I didn’t find the need for additional grease or fat, but if using a lean sausage, add olive oil or butter). Once sausage has browned nicely, add in diced onion and cook for a few minutes more, until onion has become translucent and slightly caramelized.
In a large bowl, mix together cubed cornbread, sausage mixture, celery, pecans, cranberries, finely chopped herbs, and salt and pepper. Pour in stock and stir. Taste for seasoning (the amount of salt you’ll need really depends on how well seasoned your sausage is and how salty your stock is).
Pour into a 9×13 inch pan**, cover with foil, and bake for half an hour. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes, until top is crispy***.
*The dressing is rather flexible when it comes to the cooking temperature. If you’re simultaneously baking something that requires a different temperature you should be okay as everything is already cooked, you just want it to be nice and hot.
**A 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet also works nicely to make the sides and bottom crispier.
***If you like really crispy stuffing, reduce covered cooking time and bake longer uncovered, if you prefer softer stuffing, bake covered for longer.