It turns out I was overly optimistic in my wishful thinking that we would be back up and running at the beginning of this week. After a disastrous move – countless broken, damaged household items and furniture pieces, and a new house that had not been cleaned, it’s taken me a while to settle back in, both physically and mentally. After a week and a half, we’re almost there.
All I’ve wanted to do since we arrived in North Carolina is curl up inside with steamy cups of tea and warm, comfort dishes. With Thanksgiving next week (I can’t believe the big feast is already almost here!), I thought I’d share one of my favorite family holiday recipes. This is my version of my mother’s glorious cornbread dressing, plump with sausage, tangy apple bits and aromatic herbs – a delicious, savory accompaniment to our traditional Thanksgiving meal.
- 8 cups cornbread, cubed and lightly toasted
- 1 lb hot Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 large apple, cored, peeled and diced (a firm, tart variety such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 to 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, removed from stems and finely chopped
- 1-1/2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme until the garlic begins to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the sausage cool on a large plate covered with a double layer of paper towel, to soak up any cooking grease.
- Meanwhile, add the crumbled cornbread, onion, celery and apple and cooled sausage mixture to a very large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs together and pour over the cornbread. Add the chicken stock, a bit at a time, using your hands to combine the cornbread mixture together, just until moist.
- Pour mixture into a large, greased casserole dish. Drizzle with the melted butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden brown. Serve warm.