This hearty cornbread stuffing is speckled with savory pork sausage, celery, sage and crumbly, nutty chestnuts —a wonderful combination of autumn flavors that everyone at your Thanksgiving table is sure to enjoy.
You can use store-bought cornbread for this recipe or make your own. One benefit to making your own (which can be done up to three days advance) is the ability to control the sweetness. The cornbread recipe provided here is slightly less sweet than most recipes resulting in a more savory stuffing. With store-bought cornbread your stuffing may end up on the sweeter side – which is fine too, it’s really about personal preference.
I love crumbled chestnuts in stuffing. You can certainly roast your own, that said I highly value the convenience of pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts sold in the supermarkets during the holiday season. Look for them in vacuum-packed bags or glass jars.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Sauté the Aromatics
Sauté the sausage, in an even layer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon breaking it into bite-sized pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Next, add the diced onion, celery and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Step 2. Crumble the Cornbread
Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Aim for a coarse, sandy mixture dotted with small/medium bite-sized pieces. Next, add in the sausage and onion mixture, eggs and chicken stock – toss to combine.
Step 3. Bake
Cover the stuffing with foil then bake for 15 minutes coved, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the surface of the stuffing is lightly golden brown.
- Make this stuffing gluten-free? Yes, absolutely. Substituting a gluten-free cornbread (store-bought or homemade) is just fine.
- Use chicken/turkey sausage instead of pork? Yep! Go for a mild Italian or breakfast sausage.
- Cook this stuffing inside my turkey? You can, just make sure the stuffing reaches 160 F before serving.
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Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Sage and Chestnuts
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup neutral oil plus more for the pan
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the pan
- 8 ounces pork sausage breakfast sausage or mild Italian
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 6 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- 1 8×8 pan cornbread see recipe above
- 10 ounces roasted and chestnuts coarsely crumbled *see notes*
- 2 cups chicken or turkey stock homemade or store bought
- 2 large eggs
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Cornbread:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, oil and eggs.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients; stir just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or a until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan.
For the Stuffing:
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, set aside.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Heat the butter then add in the sausage. Cook the sausage in an even layer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon breaking it into bite-sized pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Next, add the diced onion, celery and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion and celery are soft and translucent then turn off the heat and set aside.
- While the sausage and onion mixture is cooking, use clean hands to crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. The mixture should resemble coarse sand mixed with small and large bite-sized pieces. Next, add in the sausage, onion and celery mixture as well as the crumbled chestnuts.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the stock, eggs and a few turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Pour over the cornbread mixture, toss to combine. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish, cover with foil. Bake, covered for 15 minutes then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the surface of the stuffing is lightly golden brown.