Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Butternut Squash
Traditional cornbread dressing is combined with autumn produce for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Salty pork sausage and sweet butternut squash and apples make this cornbread dressing extra flavorful and the color combination of the dried cranberries and butternut squash is beautiful on a Thanksgiving table!
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 45minutes
Cook Time 1hour45minutes
Cornbread Dry Out 1day
1/2Call purpose flour
2Tbacon drippingsor melted butter
1granny smith apple
1Tbfresh Italian flat leaf parsley
3celery stalkswith greens
To make cornbread
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 10-inch cast iron (or a 9-inch cake pan if you don't have a cast iron), melt 2 Tb of bacon drippings, or butter if your substituting, in the preheated oven for 5 minutes until completely melted. Remove from the oven and set aside.
A cast iron skillet really makes the best cornbread. You just don't get the same intensity of flavors from other dishes although they certainly work. If you're interested in purchasing a good cast iron skillet, I have included a link above to a great quality choice that will be something you can pass down through the generations after enjoying its many uses yourself.
Combine the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine well. Ditch the whisk and switch to a spatula to combine with the liquid to avoid overmixing. Overmixing will give you a tough cornbread. Mix 2 C of buttermilk and 2 eggs, breaking up the eggs in a separate small bowl before adding to the mix. Stir until combined without overmixing. Last, add the melted bacon drippings or butter. Pour back into the prepared cast iron and back for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Once cooled, break up the cornbread into rough chunks (it doesn't have to be perfect) and spread out onto a baking sheet, uncovered to dry out for a minimum of 8 hours or preferably overnight. The more dried out the cornbread, the more delicious flavors it will soak up from the sausage and veggies.
To make dressing
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Peel the butternut squash with a sharp vegetable peeler. Split the squash into two pieces horizontally leaving the long neck section of the squash separate from the round bottom portion. Then split the bottom round porting vertically from end to end to expose the seeds in the middle. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and strings from the inside.
Cut the butternut squash into 1/2-inch dice. Put in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes or until soft but not mush. Remove from the pot and drain well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Finely dice the onion, apple, and celery. You're looking for equal parts celery and onion. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the diced onion, apples and celery and cook for 2 minutes or until they start to soften.
Add the sausage and break up into bite size pieces. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Add the salt, pepper, sage, and parsley and stir to combine.
Add the dried cornbread to a very large mixing bowl. Pour the cooked sausage and veggies over the cornbread and mix to combine. Add the dried cranberries and stir. The amount of chicken stock you add is somewhat subjective to your taste. I like a moist, Southern-style dressing so I add 3 C of chicken stock to my dressing. If you like more of a crumb texture to your dressing you may prefer to stop at 2 C. Just taste as you add to see when the texture feels right to you.
The final step, mostly so you can taste the dressing up to this point, is to put two eggs in a small bowl and beat slightly and add the eggs to the dressing. Mix the egg in thoroughly.
Pour the prepared dressing into a 9" x 13" or larger casserole pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Butternut Squash https://cookingandcussing.com/cornbread-dressing-sausage-squash/