Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
A cornbread stuffing with chunks of apple and turkey sausage along with sautéed celery and onions. If you're using gluten free cornmeal, this is a gluten free side dish for a holiday table.
Today you can turn on a TV and see chefs making recipes in well-lit studios right in their own homes. It wasn't always this way. In the 1950's, in Minnesota, watching a food show on Minnesota Educational Television meant a county extension agent coming into the studio to demonstrate a seasonal recipe or new product. Hot lights, unscripted--just wild & wooly cooking on the fly where anything goes. The original Reality TV.
I grew up eating "Doc Billings Stuffing" on Christmas day at Mrs. Loomis' home, but it wasn't until I was older that I learned the story behind the name.
Eleanor Loomis was a Consumer Education Specialist in the Extension service of the University of Minnesota in the 1950's. She was on TV weekly, sharing buying tips, recipes, and cooking techniques. One week the theme of her show was Thanksgiving, and she brought in a special guest, Doc Billings. Doc Billings was a Turkey Specialist in the Extension service. For that episode she made her signature stuffing recipe--a moist rosemary-scented stuffing with apples and onions. Doc Billings was aghast at how wet her stuffing appeared and threw a handful up the the ceiling. The cameraman followed the action all the way up, lingering on the glob of stuffing stuck to the studio ceiling. Mrs Loomis was mortified, her story became legend in my family, and I've always liked apples and onions in my stuffing. I also like cornbread stuffings, and oyster stuffings, and really I'm just a stuffing fan.
I'm switching gears to Thanksgiving now, and wanted to share a stuffing recipe to go with my other sides like MA's Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole. I'll be sharing a new cranberry sauce recipe next, and then a comforting celeriac and carrot mash. Then, I'll share a round up of Thanksgiving Round Ups. Because I share seasonal recipes, and because I am really slow in the kitchen, I am usually working ahead. I'm thinking about this year's Thanksgiving [which will be all about making a homemade spread for a small number of eaters] and you'll see that one next year. To get you in the mood, here's a round up of kitchen photos from last year (we'd had Robert Barker a couple of weeks at that point, so he was quite underfoot). What am I saying? He's still underfoot!
For more recipes using apples, please see my Apple Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. This resource for my fellow seasonal eaters is arranged alphabetically by produce name, with thumbnail photos linking to each recipe. I'm pinning seasonal recipes on my Pinterest boards, and I'm sharing them on my FB page. Want to know how to use this blog? Click here.
Note: This stuffing is best (and so is your stress level) if you bake the cornbread a day or two in advance, let cool, and cut into cubes. Leave the cubes in a bowl or tray on whatever random flat surface you have available for the better part of a day so they can dry out a bit (I cover them overnight). I either make a half recipe in my 7 inch cast iron skillet, or make a full recipe and use half of the cornbread in this vegetarian Sweet Potato, Chile and Cornbread Breakfast Casserole and the other half for stuffing. My cornbread recipe can be found in this Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles post or this Taco Turnip Tamale pie. I do not add additional vegetables (corn & chiles) when using it in stuffing.
NOTE: I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients. Check labels to confirm that your products are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here:
Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
- 1 pan cornbread, see Note above
- 1 Tablespoon butter (I use unsalted)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 package (6 links) fully cooked turkey sausage (I used Jimmy Dean I picked up at Costco)
- ⅓ cup torn fresh parsley leaves
- 1 medium apple, chopped into coarse cubes
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or a blend of sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary
- about 1 cup turkey broth
- salt and pepper to taste--I used ¾ teaspoon salt and several grinds of fresh pepper
- Cut cornbread into cubes and place in a large bowl to dry out a bit.
- In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter. Sauté onion and celery in butter for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Set aside.
- Chop sausage links and add to bowl, along with apple cubes and parsley.
- Sprinkle poultry seasoning (or equivalent) over top. Add in cooked onion/celery mixture.
- Using your hands or a spatula, gently combine the vegetables, apples, sausage and cornbread.
- Pour some of the turkey broth over the mixture, gently stir, and add a bit more broth. I like a moist stuffing, and if it gets too wet a bit more time in the oven will help. Add some salt and pepper, taste the stuffing, and add more if you feel it's needed.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 350 or 400, depending on the other sides).
- Butter a shallow pan (I used my 9 inch square baking pan) and spread the stuffing out in the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned. I stick the stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole into the oven after the turkey comes out. While the turkey is resting and then being carved, the side dishes get cooked/warmed. If your oven is at 350, bake the stuffing a bit longer. If your oven is at 400, maybe it only needs 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm, with gravy over top.