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Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

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Rochester: Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
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SERVES:
makes one 9 x 13-inch baking pan

INGREDIENTS:

Prebaked cornbread, 8 cups 1-inch cubed total (see procedure below)

3/4 pound crumbled mild Italian sausage, browned

1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 Tbs vegetable oil for sauteing veggies (if needed)
2 minced cloves garlic
2 Tbs finely minced fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried rubbed sage)
1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)

2 beaten eggs
chicken stock as needed (approx. 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE:

You need to plan ahead and bake the cornbread for this (one 9 x 13-inch pan or two 8 x 8 -inch pans) and then cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes....you're looking for about 8 cups total....and then place those cubes onto a baking tray and into a 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

While you're keeping your eye on the toasting cornbread, use a large saute pan to brown up about 3/4 pound crumbled mild Italian sausage.

When you're happy with the sausage, take that out of the pan and add a little vegetable oil to the pan, if you think it needs it, and saute about 1 cup each of diced celery and diced onion to soften.

Take the cornbread out of the oven and, once the onions are soft, add 2 large minced cloves of garlic and about 2 Tbs finely minced fresh sage and 1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme and cook that along for 2-3 minutes.

At that point, add the celery and onions to the bowl with the sausage and then stir 2 beaten eggs into that, add the toasted cornbread and lightly toss to coat and then add chicken stock a little bit at a time, tossing to coat as you go, until it is nice and moist but not too soggy. (see hints below)

Season that with salt and pepper to taste and transfer it to a well buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish, top that with a layer of aluminum foil and place it into the preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake it for about 30 minutes with the foil on top and then another 10 - 15 minutes with the foil off.

HINTS:

You'll probably have some baked cornbread leftover after cubing for the stuffing.

It's better to have the stuffing be a little too wet than too dry so use your judgment when adding the chicken stock.

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