Recipe #1 for a Thanksgiving feast! I have to admit, I’ve only cooked big holiday meals a handful of times, so I’m certainly no expert but I do know that I’m a perfectionist, a bit controlling (do not comment, mom or husband!) and I don’t like surprises in the kitchen when I’m entertaining. So I thought it was a great idea to test out all my Thanksgiving recipes ahead of time. This stuffing makes the cut and will absolutely be on our Thanksgiving day table. There’s a little work involved in preparing the cornbread first but you can easily do that ahead of time (up to a week) or, if your grocery store sells pre-made cornbread in their bakery, you can use that too.
Cornbread Stuffing w/ Sausage & Fennel
8 cups 1/2″ cubes Savory Cornbread
1 pound bulk ground breakfast sausage
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped, plus fronds for serving
4 celery stalks, chopped
8 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Bosc or Comice pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp dried sage leaves
2 cups (or more if desired) low sodium chicken broth, divided
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Divide cornbread between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots and dry out, 40-45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until dark brown, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a small bowl; let cool.
3. Reduce heat to medium and heat 8 Tbsp butter in same skillet. Add fennel, celery, scallions, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add pears and wine, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
4. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Butter a 9″x13″ baking dish. Combine sausage, fennel mixture, parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, and 1 1/2 cups broth in a large bowl. Add cornbread and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes, then add remaining1/2 cup broth and toss, adding more broth if needed (bread should be very moist but not soggy). Add eggs and mix gently just to combine. Transfer dressing to prepared baking dish and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp butter.
5. Cover dressing with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is golden and crisp on top, 20-30 minutes longer
6. Serve topped with fennel fronds.
Original recipe from Bon Appétit.