Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Ready in 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves : 16
By George Smith
12 cups cornbread; I use 16 oz Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half-and half
2 large Eggs; lightly beaten
8 tablespoons Unsalted butter; (1 stick) unsalted butter plus extra for baking dish
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage; (I used Jimmy Dean Original.)
3 medium onions; (about 1-1/2 cups), finely chopped
3 ribs celery; finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups
1 pound mushrooms; (optional), sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme; (I used 2 teaspoons dried Thyme), Minced
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced; (I used 2 teaspoons dried sage.)
3 cloves garlic; (More is better.), minced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt; (Sea Salt)
2 teaspoons Black Pepper; ground
Break cornbread into 1-inch pieces (include crumbs,) spread in even layer on 2 baking sheets and dry in 250? for 50 to 60 minutes. I use 16 oz Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing
For a moist, flavorful cornbread stuffing with a crisp top, let the cornbread dry in oven set on low for an hour.
Add a bit of half-and-half and allow it to soak for a minimum of one hour.
Place cornbread in large bowl.
Whisk together stock, half-and-half, and eggs in medium bowl.
Pour over cornbread and toss gently to coat.
Cover and set aside for a minimum of 1 hour in refrigerator.
Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1-? minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan and swirl to coat pan bottom.
When foam subsides, add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until sausage loses its raw color, 5 to 7 minutes.
With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to medium bowl.
Add about half the onions and celery to fat in skillet.
saute, stirring occasionally over medium-high until softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer onion mixture to bowl with sausage.
Return skillet to heat and add remaining 6 tablespoons butter.
When foam subsides, add remaining celery and onions and saute stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in thyme, sage, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add salt and pepper. (If using mushrooms, add enough extra virgin olive oil to saute until softened.)
Add the sausage and onion/celery/mushroom mixture to cornbread and stir gently to combine.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to blend flavors at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
Adjust oven rack to lower -middle position and heat oven to 400?.
Butter 10×15-inch baking dish (or two 9×9″ square or 11×7″ baking dishes.)
Transfer stuffing to baking dish.
Pour any liquid accumulated in bottom of bowl over stuffing and, if necessary, gently press stuffing with rubber spatula to fit into baking dish.
Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes
I purchased a Jumbo 12″ Fryer with lid. It has sloping sides and a flat bottom, so it is easy to saute all the vegetables in one batch thus saving several minutes. If necessary, rather than adding more butter, I may use a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil in addition to the amount of butter in the recipe. I use EVOO in just about everything.