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Today’s recipe for Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing is our family’s traditional stuffing recipe that we serve every year at Thanksgiving!
Our secret to a very flavorful and moist stuffing is to start with a really good cornbread recipe – and this stuffing recipe uses the cornbread recipe (without the bacon on top) that we shared last week. You can use your own favorite cornbread recipe of course – but we’ve included the steps to make the cornbread here in this recipe because we really think it’s the perfect option!
Our cornbread and sausage stuffing combines sweet Italian sausage, dried cranberries, walnuts and diced Granny Smith apples together with sage and rosemary for a wonderfully savory and sweet flavor profile. We think this is the absolute perfect stuffing to go along with your family’s roast turkey!
As we mentioned here, we never recommend cooking your stuffing inside your turkey! By the time the stuffing is hot enough to be safely cooked, your turkey will be far too overcooked and dry. This cornbread and sausage stuffing should be baked in a separate casserole or baking dish for best results.
For the Corn bread
- 1 cup coarse corn meal
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat (if no bacon fat, use vegetable shortening but bacon fat is better)
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Stuffing
- Corn bread from above (or 10 cups of your own corn bread) cubed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups diced onion
- 1 ½ cups diced celery plus the leaves from the stalks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound Italian mild or sweet sausage removed from casings
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped fine
- 1 quart chicken, turkey or vegetable stock, divided
- ¾ cups walnuts roughly cut up
- 1 peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apple
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 eggs beaten
- To make our corn bread, soak the corn meal in the buttermilk overnight covered and left at room temperature.
- The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the oven is up to temp, place two tablespoons of bacon fat in a nine inch square pan (or similar volume) and place in the oven while you work on the corn bread batter.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add granulated and brown sugar, stir and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.
- In a small bowl, mix melted butter with honey. Then add the butter and honey to the eggs and stir. Then add the egg mixture to the soaked corn meal and stir. Finally add the wet to the dry and stir.
- Remove the hot pan from the oven with oven mitts and swirl the hot bacon fat around the pan. Pour the batter into the hot pan and place back in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the center springs back when touched.
- Reduce oven to 275 degrees.
- Cool the corn bread slightly then cut into two inch cubes, lay out on a sheet pan and place in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove, flip cubes and bake for 20 more minutes. Pour into a large bowl.
- To make the stuffing, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large sauté pan, heat oil and butter over medium high heat and add onion, celery and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes then lower heat to medium and add sausage, garlic, sage and rosemary and sauté until sausage is cooked through.
- Add half of the stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan then remove from the heat.
- In the large bowl that has the toasted corn bread, add walnuts, apple and cranberries. Then add all of mixture from the sauté pan.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir the meat mixture into corn bread mixture. Add the second half of the stock along with the beaten eggs and mix to combine.
- Spray a 9X13 baking dish with pan spay and pour in the stuffing. Cover with parchment and foil.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes until cooked through and hot in the center. If you would like the top to be browned, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Serve hot with roasted turkey, chicken or pork.
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