Thursday, November 15, 2012

Corbread Dressing with Sausage and Apple

My Granny used to make a Cornbread Dressing every year for the Holidays with Sausage in it.  Most people use poultry in their dressing as the main meat but not my Granny!  She used locally made smoked pork sausage as her staple ingredient.  I can't begin to tell you what a difference in flavor it makes.  One year I spent an afternoon with her while she compiled her Cornbread Dressing and it is one of my favorite memories of her that I will cherish forever.  One of her other "secret" ingredients was left over breads.  She would save the ends of loaves of french bread, a slice here and there from cornbreads she'd made and other odds and ends of breads left over thoroughout the few months before the holidays.  She would wrap them well and store them in freezer bags in the freezer until she was ready to use them. 

When it was time to make her dressing, she would thaw out all over her left over bits of various breads and crumble them into large chunks, spread them out onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until slightly crunchy.  While that was toasting in the oven, she would prepare the meat and liquid base for her dressing.  Boiling gizzards and necks to make a chicken stock for her liquid.  Sauteing sausage, onions and other veggies for her filling and then combine all ingredients and bake into perfection!!  This process took hours and given the time constraints I'm usually working under, I've learned how to get some of that wonderful flavor from my Granny's dressing into a dish I can prepare in record time.  Here is my much simpler and faster version of one of my favorite childhood dishes.

2 Packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (or your favorite brand of cornbread mix or even homemade if you have time)
2 eggs
2/3 cup of Milk

Mix all ingredients together and bake in a 9 inch cast iron skillet at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool completely and break into small pieces into a 10 X 14 pan

Sausage Filling:
1 lb. of Smoked Pork Sausage
1 Large White or Yellow Onion
1/2 cup Chopped Green Onions
32 oz of Chicken Broth
2 small apples or 1 large apple cored, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice sausage into small discs and brown with white/yellow onion until a nice "crust"/brown stuff forms on the bottom of the pot. 

Sausage and Onions
Chopped Apple

While you are browning sausage, add green onions and apples to cornbread pieces in pan.  When the sausage and onions are well browned add about 1 cup of chicken broth to the pot and deglaze the dripping from the bottom of the pot.  Pour the mixture into the pan with the cornbread, green onions and apples and mix well.  Pour the remaining chicken broth over the entire pan of ingredients.  Give the mixture a taste and add salt and pepper to suit your tastes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil.  Remove foil and bake and additional 15 minutes.

 If you like celery and bell pepper chopped and sauteed in your dressing, please feel free to use it.  My husband just isn't a big fan of them in his dressing so I don't usually use them.  Neither of us is a big fan of gizzards so I skip that as well.  This is a simple recipe that packs big flavor.

Honestly, this does not taste exactly like my Granny's dressing, but it's pretty darn good and takes much less time to prepare.  I usually prepare it the day before and refrigerate overnight and bake it an hour or so before Thanksgiving lunch is served.  It does refrigerate well the day before and I just take it straight from the fridge to the oven (in an aluminum pan, not glass).  Makes Thanksgiving morning go a little easier to have as much prepared ahead of time as possible.  As always, thanks so much for reading and hope you and yours have a very Blessed Thanksgiving!

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