Okay. I'll admit it. I am a sucker for dressing. It really is my favorite side on Thanksgiving. Heck, I think I am going to have to say it is my favorite dish, period, on Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because I only get to eat it once or twice a year. Maybe it's the fact that I get to dress it up with tart cranberry sauce. Maybe because it's just so darn good.
I know not everyone is a big fan of dressing, but maybe they've never tasted one as good as this. I am judgy when it comes to dressing served at Thanksgiving. I can't help myself only because I think mine is so darn tootin' good. Ask Gary. I think he looks more forward to this odd combination of cornbread and bread crumbs than he does even the turkey. That is until we started frying that turkey last year (Whoa! Mama!).
To me, dressing (and yes, it's dressing and not stuffing) is made best with cornbread as its base. I begin the process by making my own cornbread in a cast-iron skillet baked in the oven. I've tried the dried cornbread crumbs that can be found in a few supermarkets but the dressing tends to come out drier than when the cornbread is freshly made. It's not hard if you use a simple mix. We aren't looking for the best cornbread recipe out there. You just need a simple cornbread that is going to be crumbled and used as the base for your dressing.
The next important ingredient is your sausage. I prefer spicy sausage to give the dressing a nice kick, but if you're afraid of offending more sensitive palates go for the mild seasoning. Add in your sautéed celery and onion, a bit of sage and thyme, and chicken broth. How easy can it be?
What you get is a moist dressing that doesn't need all of the extra chunks of apple, pecans, or chestnuts added in to make it a little more interesting. It's fine on its own. It's simple but flavorful, perfectly dressed with your favorite style of cranberries. I wish I could eat it all year long.
Sausage Cornbread Dressing
A classic Southern dressing recipe using spicy ground sausage and cornbread.
- 2 cups Martha White buttermilk self-rising enriched white corn meal mix
- 3 large egg
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- six slices white bread
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces chicken broth
- 16 ounce tube ground sausage, hot or mild
1. Cornbread: Coat cast-iron skillet with cooking spray. Place in oven and preheat to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine one egg, milk, oil, and corn meal mix. Stir to combine. Pour into the skillet and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, pulse the white bread slices until crumbed. Place crumbs in a large bowl. Once cooled, do the same with the cornbread, breaking it up into small pieces before pulsing. You can also do this part by hand. Place cornbread crumbs in mixing bowl.
3. In a large saute pan, saute the sausage over medium heat, continually breaking into small pieces until it is crumbly and the pink has disappeared. Add the sausage and its juices to the bowl with the crumbs.
4. Using the same pan, saute the onions and celery over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add to mixing bowl.
5. Add two eggs, sage, thyme, salt, and chicken broth. Stir to combine all of your ingredients.
6. Pour your mixture into a 9 x 11 casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Note: The dressing can be made the night before, but have a little broth on hand in case the dressing has absorbed a lot of the broth. As always when making dressing, if it becomes too dry while cooking, add a little broth during the cooking process.
1 hour 45 mins