When I was a kid, I used to eat so much on Thanksgiving that I would invariably get a stomach ache and spend a good portion of the evening on the couch asking my mom when the pain would subside. My brother Mark is known to have done this well into adulthood. It must be genetic, we just couldn’t help ourselves. These days, I have more self-restraint when it comes to portion size but I still love to indulge in all the special food that we prepare only for the Holidays. Stuffing (or dressing) is one of those dishes. We usually have stuffing, potatoes, corn pudding and Yorkshire puddings on Thanksgiving. Let me know if you think of any other carbs we should consider adding. As you can see we try to include them all.
I mix it up with the stuffing, trying different variations each year. I think I am always trying to find a stuffing that is as good as my mom’s. My mom makes it with the gizzards and actually stuffs the bird. Hers is the best. Like me, she doesn’t really follow recipes so the only time “I’ve” been able to make her version is when she made it and I helped. Yes, I should have taken notes but I think I took a bunch of goofy pics elbow deep in turkey-cavity with my brother instead. Some things you never outgrow.
Still, I’ve got a good thing going with the addition of Winston’s sausages. I’ve made versions of this stuffing/dressing with cornbread, brown bread and white bread but always with Winston’s Irish sausages, which got me to thinking, do they even eat stuffing in Ireland? Based on a quick perusal of the internet, I feel pretty confident that they do and that that they regularly add Irish sausages to theirs. Another great idea that, apparently, I was not the first to have (along with 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, which my brother and I invented in the bathtub WAY before PertPlus hit the shelves). No matter. This stuffing is still really good.
8 cups ½” cubes cornbread
1 pound bulk Winston’s sausage, casings removed
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbs chopped chives
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pears or apples, peeled, chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries
½ cup pecan pieces
½ cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 300°. Divide cornbread between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots and dry out, 40–45 minutes.
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.
Reduce heat to medium and heat 8 Tbsp. butter in same skillet. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add pears/apples and wine, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Butter a 13x9x2” baking dish. Combine sausage, onion mixture, dried fruit, pecans, parsley, thyme, sage, and 1½ cups broth in a large bowl.
Add cornbread and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes, then add remaining ½ 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.
Cover dressing with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until dressing is golden and crisp on top, 20–30 minutes longer.
Have a bunch of people you love over to help you eat it all.
I would love to know what she's thinking... maybe "Ah-ha! THIS must be where I got my blue eyes"?