Thanksgiving is cooking up a bit early here. We just had this tonight, and it received the seal of approval as far as savory stuffings go.
To me it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory, but I think I could have kicked it up a bit by adding some crushed red pepper. The vegetarian in me wanted to toss the sausage and plant plump rum raisins and spiced caramelized apple chunks throughout, but I resisted. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll more likely enjoy this stuffing.
I opted for chicken sausage, but any will do. Or you can use ground poultry and add some fennel and salt to it. If you don’t use sausage, some alternatives would be diced cooked bacon, cubed ham, or any kind of finely diced cured or smoked poultry. Another great option is to take the liver from the turkey, sauté it, and then add it to the stuffing.
I baked this as dressing, but I can see this turning out quite well when added to the cavity of your favorite poultry. Happy stuffing!
Savory Cornbread StuffingThis can be prepared ahead of time and then heated for 30 minutes before meal time. If you want to use ground chicken, turkey, or pork, add about 1/2 teaspoon of fennel and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to it when cooking it. Some additions I like to sneak in are raisins, walnuts, and chopped apple (skinned first). If you do use these additions, add them to the pan when cooking the celery and onions. For the herbs, I add them to a food processor to get them finely chopped. If you don’t have soup broth you can use dairy-free milk or apple juice, however the stuffing will be sweeter with the juice.
- 2 loaves of cornbread, cut into small cubes
- 1 pound of chicken, turkey, or pork sausage (about 4 links)
- 2 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or olive oil (or a mixture of each)
- 1 cup of onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 cup of chopped mushrooms (crimini or other)
- 1/2 cup of fresh, finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, finely chopped
- about 1/2 cup of soup broth (or more as needed to moisten)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the cornbread cubes on cookie sheets and toast them in a preheated oven at 350°F/ 175° C for about 5 minutes, or until they start to brown.
- Take the bread cubes out of the oven to cool. Leave the oven on for the dressing.
- In a large frying pan on medium heat, cook the ground sausage, breaking it up and stirring often so it is in small pieces.
- Put the sausage aside, and place the butter in the pan to melt.
- Place the onions, mushrooms, and celery in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions start to become clear.
- Crumble half the cornbread cubes and leave the other half as cubes. I crumble them in my hand, but you can also give them a quick whirl in a food processor.
- Transfer the stuffing and frying pan mixture to a large mixing bowl and blend in the parsley, thyme, sage, soup stock, and salt and pepper to taste.
- If you’re baking this as a dressing, transfer the stuffing to a greased baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. If you’re using it as stuffing, add it to the cavity of a turkey or other poultry.
- Keep covered in a warm oven until ready to serve.