Southern-style Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

Thanksgiving is upon us. It just snuck up on me this year. I guess I have been preoccupied with other things and haven’t really given a lot of thought to the holidays.

One thing that hasn’t escaped my attention is the rampant consumerism going on all around me. Every year, I get depressed about this, but this year it seems worse than ever. The Christmas buying season now has to start immediately after Halloween, and the pressure to buy, buy, buy is relentless. I was trying to make up my Christmas list, and I could barely think of anything I really wanted. Of course, there are plenty of things we need, with the impending arrival of our first child, but why not wait until after Christmas and take advantage of the sales?

But what do I want? Living in a very limited maternity wardrobe has taught me that I don’t need much in the way of clothes. My kitchen is pretty much fully outfitted, I’m overflowing with books acquired free from BookMooch, and I don’t really need anything else. Maybe a new cookbook, a food mill for making baby food, but most of all what I want is a break.

I need a break from the full-tilt life of work and shopping and busyness that is our modern culture. One reason why I’m looking forward so much to our child’s birth is that I really feel it will force me to slow down and just be there more, just as the pregnancy has forced me to slow down and realize there’s a limit to what I can do in one day.

In conclusion to this ramble, I want to remind everyone that this Friday is Buy Nothing Day, so why not celebrate by taking a little time for yourself?

In the meantime, here’s a Thanksgiving dish that’s tasty, traditional and doesn’t require hours of advance preparation.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

Time to make: ~45 minutes (not counting time to make the cornbread)
Yields: 8-10 servings

What you need:

  • 1 loaf cornbread, homemade or store-bought (can be made a day or two ahead–stale cornbread works fine in this recipe)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 links Italian-style sausage (chicken sausage works great)
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • salt, pepper and fresh or dried herbs to taste (sage and parsley are traditional)
  • 9X13 baking pan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer.
  3. Remove the casings from the sausage, crumble and brown in a small amount of oil over medium.
  4. Add the onion and celery, cover and cook 10 more minutes; set aside.
  5. Cut the cornbread into small cubes.
  6. Combine the cornbread and sausage mixture in a large bowl, and season with salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
  7. Pour the chicken stock over the stuffing mixture.
  8. Spoon the stuffing into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Notes: If you have time, I recommend making the stuffing ahead, which gives the cornbread plenty of time to absorb the chicken stock and the flavors. Prepare through step 7 and refrigerate overnight. Bake it the next day but extend the baking time by 10 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in Eating Well.

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