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Cornbread Stuffing with Fennel and Sausage

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 10 hr (includes drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Cornbread:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon, for greasing the pan

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

Cornbread Stuffing:

4 cups cubed white bread (1-inch cubes)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

3 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, diced

1/2 head fennel, diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 green apples, peeled and cut into cubes

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 pound Italian pork sausage

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. At least 1 day before serving the stuffing, make the cornbread.
  2. For the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, corn, honey and eggs. Using a rubber spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour, then cut into 1-inch cubes for the stuffing.
  5. For the cornbread stuffing: Spread the white bread cubes and 4 cups of the cornbread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and leave out overnight to dry out.
  6. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
  7. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl.
  8. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the celery, garlic, onions and fennel, sprinkle with the salt and cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mixture to the bowl of bread and mix.
  9. In the same saute pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and let brown for 30 seconds. Add the apples and nutmeg and saute until the apples are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apples to the bread bowl and mix. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, breaking it up as it browns, 8 to 10 minutes; transfer the sausage to the bread bowl and mix. Mix in the parsley and sage.
  10. Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pour the chicken stock evenly over the bread mixture. Finish with the freshly ground pepper. Put the baking dish on the middle oven rack and bake, uncovered, until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

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