If you ask me, stuffing is the best part of Thanksgiving (and any other meal where it is served.) There are a million variations and everyone has their own (often very specific) opinion about what it should and should not include. There are debates about optimum degree of doneness or whether it should be stuffed in a bird or cooked separately. I have to admit, that my upbringing has shaped my view on this dish. To me, stuffing isn’t stuffing… it is cornbread dressing. If your only experience with stuffing is Stovetop… well, honey, I weep for you. That’s like saying your only reference point for pizza is school cafeteria pizza. There is so much more to life.
Now, I was raised to believe that cornbread dressing does not (I repeat, does NOT) include meat or fruit. It was a simple blend of cornbread, onion, celery, sage, eggs, broth, etc. My father was always first in line to make sure he got the burnt edges and, I have to admit, I avoided the potentially soggy middle. But, like in many areas, I eventually began to broaden my horizons. And I’m going to go on record as saying this dressing may be the best dressing I have ever eaten. (Did you hear that? I believe my grandma just rolled over in her grave.)
Sausage Cornbread Dressing (serves 8)
adapted from Anne Burrell’s Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, small dice
- 3 ribs celery, small dice
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 lb spicy sausage, casing removed, broken into bite-size chunks
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (or chopped walnuts)
- 5 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 batch Jiffy cornbread, cooked to directions and cubed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. ( I could have cooked these over indirect heat on the Egg but it was occupied with my game hens so I went with the oven.)
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and celery and saute over to medium heat. Season with salt and cook until the vegetables start to become soft and are very aromatic.
Add the sausage and cook until the sausage begins to brown.
Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts and sage and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, cranberries, and the sausage mixture. Add chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet.
Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Plate it up with all of your awesome food and you are set for one fine meal, my friends.