I've always made an all bread stuffing, but I have memories of eating a super delicious cornbread stuffing years ago at a church dinner. This Cook's Country recipe is wonderful, perfect in almost every way, and reminded me of that long ago dressing. You need to make the corn bread a couple of days ahead, to cut down on food preparations on the big day. I made only half the recipe, because a 9x13 pan is way too much for just my hubby and me. He stills prefers a bread stuffing, but I have been in heaven with this stuff. Even though this recipe contains sausage, the dressing would be equally delicious without the meat. I did double the sage and I added alittle bit of sugar (gasp!) to the cornbread recipe. I'm one of those people that like some sweetness to the cornbread. Here's the full recipe, for the cornbread, and then the dressing, with my changes added.
Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country.
Cornbread can be made up to 2 days ahead to have time to stale.
2 2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
4 large eggs
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar- my addition
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil. In another bowl combine, flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth.
2. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan.
3. If the cornbread is made 2 days in advance, you may not need to oven-dry the cornbread. If using freshly baked cornbread, cut cooled bread into 1 inch cubes and place on 2 baking sheets. Place pans in a250 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes. Cool.
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage- I used Jimmy Dean
2 onions, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped-- the recipe calls for 3 ribs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves minced garlic- recipe calls for 4 cloves
2 teaspoons dried sage- Recipe calls for 1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme- recipe calls for 1 teaspoon thyme
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth- I needed a little more
1 cup half and half
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper- recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon
1. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium high heat, but turn heat down if it begins to burn. Transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate, reserving 2 tablespoons of grease in the skillet and adding 2 tablespoons of butter also. I did not have hardly any grease, so I added 4 of the tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage, thyme and garlic to the pan and saute about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, and remove the pan from the heat. Cool about 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt and cayenne. Slowly stir in the warm broth mixture. Fold in the cubed cornbread and the cooked sausage. Let the mixture sit, tossing occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Pour the dressing mixture into the pan and drizzle with the leftover melted butter. I forgot to do that and didn't really miss it, but more butter is great in stuffing. The dressing still came out golden and delicious. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve and enjoy.
Are you a fan of cornbread dressing, or do you prefer a bread dressing?