Everyone needs to have a solid stuffing/dressing recipe under their belt. For me, moving to the south brought a revelation to me – there was such a thing as cornbread stuffing. Once I tried it, I never went back to plain ol bread dressing. There’s something just a little more delicious about cornbread dressing – the way it soaks up flavors, the texture of it on one’s tongue and the satisfying crispy baked top that holds up with a crispy finish under a spoonful of gravy.
Also, I think a good stuffing/dressing recipe begs to have a good addition of sage to it. It just screams Thanksgiving to have that warm taste of sage mixed with rich turkey gravy. After trying and testing a few different recipes, this one stuck as the favorite. The addition of the sausage bumps the umami up in volumes. If you can find sage breakfast sausage, it’s especially good, but you can just use plain ol sausage and add the sage in separately for flavor.
To begin, you’ll obviously need cornbread. This dressing recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan so first, you’ll need to bake up a 9 x 13 pan of cornbread. You can use my recipe here . If you’re pressed on time, the light blue box of Jiffy will work as well but I believe you’ll need 2-3 of them.
Once the cornbread is baked, let it cool a bit then cut it into 1 inch squares and spread it out on 2 baking sheets.
You can let it set out overnight, or do like I do and pop it into the oven at about 250º for about 30 minutes. It should feel pretty dried out with not much moisture at all.
Cook up a pound of breakfast sausage, preferably sage, but regular will do just fine. If you like things spicy, spicy sausage is delicious as well! Remove the sausage from the pan, and add in a cup each of chopped onion and celery. Saute it around in two tablespoons of butter until it has softened.
Now in a large bowl, add in the cornbread, sausage, onion and celery along with 2 teaspoons of rubbed sage, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
Mix it all up well with a large spoon and drizzle 2-3 cups of chicken stock or broth over it, stirring after each cup. You want your mixture to be moist but not soggy.
Spoon this all into a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and drizzle with 4 tablespoons of melted butter mixed with 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning.
Return to the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is browning a nice golden brown and crisping up.
By now your home will be smelling divine, with all the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving. Sometimes I think the smells are as comforting as the delicious spread that covers the table and the sage in the cornbread really adds to that.
I hope you and yours have a most blessed holiday giving thanks to the Lord for the beauty that is family , friends and wonderful flavors.
Happy HAPPY Thanksgiving to all!
- 1 recipe cornbread for 9×13-inch pan, baked
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage, preferably sage, cookied and crumbled
- 2 T. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 c)
- 1 c. celery, chopped finely
- 2 t. rubbed sage
- 1 t. kosher salt
- ½ t. pepper
- 2 to 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 T. butter, melted
- 1 t. poultry seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Cut cooled cornbread into 1 inch cubes and spread onto two cookie sheets
- Leave out to dry overnight or bake in a 250º oven for 30 minutes to dry out
- Cook sausage and drain, remove to a paper towel lined plate
- Melt 2 T butter in same skillet and saute onion and celery until softened, about 7-8 minutes, stirring often
- In a large mixing bowl, mix cornbread, sausage, onion and celery along with the sage, salt and pepper
- Pour chicken broth a cup at a time, just until the cornbread is thoroughly moistened but not soggy.
- Spread into a 9 x 13 pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray
- Bake 15 minutes then removed from oven
- Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and mix with poultry seasoning
- Drizzle over top of dressing and return to oven for 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and crispy.