Cornbread-Sausage Dressing with Apples

November 12th, 2010
One of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing or dressing.  My Mother made a very traditional bread stuffing which I wrote about here.  She never stuffed the bird, preferring the crispy edges that develop when the dressing is cooked in a casserole.  I am of the same opinion.
Back in the 1980’s Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins ran a very successful gourmet food shop in Manhattan called The Silver Palate.  Their cookbook, The Silver Palate Cookbook was published in the early 80’s and I loved everything about it.  I especially loved their version of Thanksgiving stuffing.  Over the years I have changed it to suit our tastes but it has become the “other favorite dressing” after my Mom’s version.
You can’t help but love a dressing with cornbread, whole wheat bread, sourdough bread, apples, pecans and sausage.  The apples and sausage keep it moist and the three kinds of bread keep it interesting.   The original recipe was either cooked in the bird or baked in the oven in a water bath.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got room in my oven at Thanksgiving for an extra large pan of water, so I changed the recipe.  I added chicken broth and an egg to it in order to add that extra moistness.  Most dressing recipes include eggs and broth anyway, so they made the dish even better.
We had this last night with a roast chicken and I have to say that I think I like it even better than my Mom’s famous Thanksgiving dressing.  But please don’t tell the relatives.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tart apples peeled, cored and chunked up
1/2 pound bulk sausage ( Sage flavored is good.  I used hot sausage)
1 1/2 cups crumbled cornbread (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sourdough bread from a baguette
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 egg beaten
Melt half of the butter in a skillet.  Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat until softened.  Transfer onion and butter to a large mixing bowl.
Melt remaining butter in the same skillet.  Add the apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy.  Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.
Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned.  With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.
Add remaining ingredients to the the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently.  Butter a casserole dish.  Spoon dressing into dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with the turkey drippings or the reserved sausage fat.
Note:  Double the recipe if you are stuffing a large turkey or need to serve 12 to 14 people.

10 responses to “Cornbread-Sausage Dressing with Apples”

  1. Karen says:

    I make this exact same recipe (same cookbook!! every now and then when we have company for Thanksgiving. I’m the only person in the family who likes it!! But our guests always go wild over it. We are headed to Mexico for Thanksgiving, but I may have to make this for our Christmas dinner. I love, love, love it!!
    Ladybug Creek

  2. Haden News says:

    This recipe sounds like a winner, I have made similar but don’t think I have ever added pecans to my dressing – stuffing!! This is the first time in many years I won’t be cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I am kinda excited about it…I must be getting old 🙂

  3. Lyla says:

    What a gal–you’ve just arrived back in Florida, are barely settled, and yet you can whip up a delicious meal. I’m still on a search for “The Perfect Stuffing” so I’m going to give this a dry run (a pun, given the state of the bread) over the weekend.

    The pumpkin pancakes were superb! Love, Lyla

  4. racheld says:

    We’re all still cornbread-dressing people, though we’ve lived in Indiana for twenty years. Thanksgiving guests seem to enjoy our version, but once I even whipped up a batch of Stovetop when one guest said her daughter ate only THAT.

    But you have the best of both worlds, and this looks absolutely delicious. Not in PLACE of, you understand, for that little ritual is almost sacred, but for a cold night’s dinner, with a roast chicken and some good home-canned green beans—sounds perfect.

  5. Pondside says:

    We’re old fashioned Bread Dressing with sage and savory up here, but I could try this with chicken for a non-traditional dinner. I have this cookbook but haven’t looked at it for ages!

  6. I need to dig my Silver Palate Cookbooks out of the closet. Their dishes are still very timely. I will always remember their Poppy Seed Creme de Couer.

  7. Donnie says:

    I just found the Silver Palate Cookbook at a yard sale and have yet to go through the recipes. Your stuffing recipe sounds delicious.

  8. That sounds great! I do the traditional stuffing, inside the bird and another dish baked by itself. I love the one cooked inside and Kent loves the one outside.

  9. Penny, this sounds fabulous. I love cornbread dressing and think the Silver Palate is a very special and delightful book. Thanks for your recipe and I promise I won’t tell the relatives.

  10. Big Dude says:

    The dressing is the only reason I show up for the Thanksgiving meal. For Mom it was always in-the-bird stuffing made with dried white bread and pretty basic flavorings, but it’s what I grew up on and liked. Thanks to my southern wife I’ve sense expanded my horizons to include cornbread dressing and with lots of unique items in it – nuts, berries, oysters, etc. Yours sounds delicious and I like the idea of basting with the turkey drippings.

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