Sweet Cornbread Stuffing Casserole

Stuffing has a reputation as a Thanksgiving side, but for me it’s an everyday kind of meal. It’s my favorite food and there are literally a zillion ways to prepare it. I could write an entire blog on stuffing recipes and never run out of ideas. It is the epitome of comfort food and I truly believe it’s impossible to be sad or angry or anything bad if you have a big bowl of stuffing in front of you. It’s just my opinion of course, but I think of it more like a fact.

This version is a sweet one, using cornbread (store bought because I’m lazy) and sweet Italian sausage meat. Because this was the entire meal, and not being prepared alongside a turkey, it’s baked in the oven as a casserole, so there’s not actual stuffing to be done.

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Sweet Cornbread Stuffing Casserole

  • 12 oz cornbread
  • EVOO
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

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Cube up the cornbread and spread it out on a cookie sheet. Bake the cornbread for 10 to 20 minutes, until it is dry and feels stale.

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While the cornbread is drying out, saute the shallots, carrots, celery and hot pepper in the oil over medium heat. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and cook until the veggies start to soften but still have some crunch – you don’t want mushy stuffing after all.

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Set the veggies aside and keep them warm. Add more oil to the pan if necessary and cook the sausage meat until it is browned and crumbly. At this point, the bread should be done; remove it from the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees.

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While the oven is heating up, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the garlic and herbs. mix the vegetables, meat and bread until they are evenly combined and then put the stuffing in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

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Pour the melted butter and the chicken stock evenly over the top. The stuffing should not be dry but it shouldn’t be wet either. Add a splash more chicken stock if you feel it is necessary and then bake the casserole for 30 minutes.

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