This Cornbread, Sausage, and Apple Dressing is nice and herby without being overpowering and the sweet tart apple compliments the savory sausage perfectly. It’s a delightful combination, and if I hadn’t told the whole family, I bet they would have never guessed it was gluten free.
Before last year the only kind of dressing that made it onto our family’s Thanksgiving table came from a box with the word Stouffer’s plastered on the front of it. It may not be the fanciest thing in the world, but I love some good old fashioned, straight from the box stuffing.
We probably never would have departed from our old faithful standby, but when mom had to switch to a gluten free diet, we decided it may be time to branch out. I just couldn’t sit there enjoying my mound of stuffing while mom stared at a sparse plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans. When I found a recipe for cornbread dressing in Better Homes and Gardens, I knew it was time to take the challenge.
Of course this dressing required more effort than the box (I mean really, it’s hard to beat just adding butter and broth), but I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this recipe. The dressing is nice and herby without being overpowering and the sweet tart apple compliments the savory sausage perfectly. It’s a delightful combination, and if I hadn’t told the whole family, I bet they would have never guessed it was gluten free.
The recipe starts off with a humble homemade skillet cornbread. The batter is thrown right into a hot, buttery cast iron skillet and baked off to golden perfection. Then it’s broken up into big chunks and left out for a day to dry up a little bit.
The next day you saute some celery, sausage, and apples, throw in some broth and herbs, and before you know it, you’ve got a toasty pan of homemade dressing coming out of the oven.
The original recipe for this called for a significant amount more broth, but I prefer my dressing to have some crunch. I like the pieces of cornbread to have some distinction rather than being one pile of goop. But hey if you like a “goopier” dressing, feel free to add extra broth to it!
I’m sure this will be making a second appearance at our Thanksgiving table this year. And though Stouffer’s will have its spot as well, you know what they say. There’s no such thing as too much dressing. Or maybe I just say that. Either way, it’s truth.
Cornbread, Sausage, and Apple Dressing (it's Gluten Free!)
For the cornbread
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
For the dressing
- 1 recipe cornbread
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 medium or one large apple, chopped
- 1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (Bob Evan's is gluten free)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2- 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth*
- *Check ingredients to ensure it's gluten free
For the cornbread:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs together. Whisk buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture until smooth. Add hot butter to the mixture and whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour mixture into the cast iron skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes then remove from skillet. Break into large chunks and allow to sit uncovered overnight to dry out. Alternatively, you can bake hunks of cornbread at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
For the dressing:
- Butter a 3 quart casserole dish and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, apple, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add sausage to the pan and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked and vegetables are translucent.
- In a large bowl, crumble cornbread into small or large chunks (I prefer to have larger pieces, but that's just a personal preference).
- Stir in celery mixture and beaten eggs. Melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons butter and add it to the mixture along with 2½ cups of the broth. Stir together. The mixture should be pourable but not have a ton of excess liquid. If needed, add additional broth until the mixture is pourable.
- Pour into greased dish and bake for 40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees and bake an additional 10-20 minutes or until the dressing is browned and crisp on the outside.