This apple, sausage, and cornbread dressing/stuffing is without a doubt my all-time, very favorite, holiday side dish, and I’m so excited to share it with you.
My in-laws will be out of the country during both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, so we celebrated this past weekend, complete with a (downsized) holiday meal, present exchange, and a sparkly house full of poinsettias, mercury glass, pine boughs, Santas, and a merry soundtrack to boot.
We may still have a week and a half to go until Turkey day, and I may still be baking a bevy of pumpkin and apple centered desserts, but Christmas carols are on in the background. It’s been a confusing season so far, to say the least.
While it didn’t make sense to roast a whole turkey for the four of us (we did a rosemary lamb roast studded with garlic cloves instead), as part of our family dinner, I made a batch of this cornbread dressing, and was reminded once again why I love it so much.
(I also made this pie, and though I’m quite biased, it’s still the very best pumpkin pie I’ve ever come across. Many of you agree!)
This is my version of my mother’s glorious cornbread dressing, plump with sausage, tangy apple bits, and aromatic herbs. She’s made it for as long as I can remember – it’s a delicious, savory accompaniment to our traditional Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinners, and if I’m honest, outshines even the main event: the roast turkey.
While dressing/stuffing may not be the most photogenic of dishes to grace the table, I hope you’ll take my word for it that this version, packed with sweet chunks of apple, savory spices, and flavorful pork sausage, is as good as it gets.
The apples really make this dressing. They add a wonderful sweetness, which complements the crumbled cornbread, and balances the sweet and spicy Italian sausage and fragrant herbs.
We are practically swimming in apples here in the Pacific Northwest, with lots of varieties to choose from, and I like to use a firm, tart variety, like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, that retains some structure after being cooked.
You can buy store-bought cornbread stuffing cubes, or make your own, although I honestly don’t believe it’s worth the effort.
We’ve got some really good ingredients convening here along with the cornbread. The dressing begins with sautéed onion, celery, and apple, followed by tempting golden sausage, rich chicken broth, and a generous amount of melted butter (two whole luscious sticks). Between all that, and a dash of aromatic spices, I think you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference.
But, if you’re a purist and do choose to make homemade cornbread, you’ll want to be sure to make it a day or two before, crumble it, then let it dry out slightly, so that it can absorb the liquids without getting overly mushy.
I however, grew up with Mrs. Cubbison’s, and that’s just fine by me. There are also more and more gluten free bread options available, and that’s an easy switch to make this cornbread stuffing available for everyone at the table.
Either way, I hope you love this flavorful, crispy-topped, crumbly cornbread dressing as much as we do!
What’s on your holiday menu(s) this year?
Originally published on November 17th, 2012. I’m (slowly) going back through my recipe archives, updating some of my favorites with new photos and information.