Thanksgiving Dinner: Cornbread Sausage Dressing

Are you ready? Either you have a menu planned and are gearing up for a huge grocery store trip, or you have your bags packed with elastic-waist pants to go visit relatives. Either way, a case of wine is definitely in order.

I’m still browsing magazines, cookbooks and Leite’s Culinaria for some knock-out recipes. My parents are coming for a visit, so I’m working with a toddler who refuses to eat vegetables (unless you’re serving carrots and convince him he’s a bunny) and my dad, who is vegan.

My current plan is to still do turkey (I’ll be using this recipe again) and a sausage-based dressing, but accompany that with lots of veggies, a caramelized-onion butternut squash casserole, olive oil mashed potatoes and a vegan pumpkin pie.

For those of you who are not vegan, here’s my family’s cornbread sausage dressing. My mom clipped it out of the Omaha World Herald years and years ago. I love the tradition of clipping and saving newspaper recipes (and I’m so honored to be a part of it.)

Cornbread Sausage Dressing
adapted from the Omaha World Herald

8×8 pan of cornbread
12 oz bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

If possible, make cornbread a few days ahead of time. Any standard recipe will do, although I like a slightly sweet one to complement the salty sausage (just look for a recipe that calls for a little sugar.) Break it up and let it dry out for 1-2 days.

If you can’t bake it ahead, or it isn’t very dry, toast in a low oven until dry.

In a large skillet, cook sausage until browned. Set sausage aside, and drain off all but two tablespoons of fat. Melt butter, add thyme and sage and saute celery and onions until soft.

Stir together veggies, sausage, and cornbread. Add broth and parsley, and gently stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spread stuffing in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

A few notes: you can make the cornbread, sausage and veggies  1-2 days prior, and store separately in the fridge. After your turkey comes out and is resting, mix the components together with broth, parsley, salt and pepper and bake off.

If you’ve resigned yourself to cooking dressing (instead of stuffing the bird–which in order to get stuffing to a safe 165 degrees, your bird would be unpleasantly overdone), but are sad about it, feel free to pour on some of your cooked turkey drippings before baking.

Happy Thanksgiving!




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