Ditch your Mrs. Cubbison boxed stuffing with high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil! You don’t have to be gluten-free to stuff your belly with this delicious Cornbread Sausage Dressing with Leeks and Pears (aka “stuffing”). It’s been a family and class favorite since I introduced it back in 2014. For the past two years, I’ve created and tested other dressing recipes but I keep coming back to this favorite crowd pleaser. And, nobody will know it’s gluten-free so bring it to your Thanksgiving family gathering where even the Jello mold salad loving guests won’t roll their eyes.
Cornbread Sausage Dressing with Leeks & Pears
Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Option
Recipe by: Carrie Paul – The Longest Fork
Adapted from Bon Appetit
8 cups ½-inch cubes gluten-free cornbread (www.thelongestfork.com or Glutino brand)
1 lb. organic breakfast sausage, casings removed (or organic ground pork)
¾ Tbsp. ground fennel seeds
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning (basil, parsley, oregano, paprika)
Salt and pepper
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee, divided (sub coconut oil for dairy-free)
1 leek, white only; chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
8 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Bosc pear, peeled and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ Tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
1 ½ – 2 cups chicken stock (or low-sodium broth)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven 300⁰F.
- Bake cubed cornbread pieces on two parchment-lined baking sheets for approximately 30 minutes, until slightly browned; tossing occasionally.
- Meanwhile, mix sausage meat with fennel seeds, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until dark brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl.
- Using same skillet, heat 4 Tbsp. butter to medium. Add leeks, celery, scallions, and garlic until tender; about 15 minutes. Add pears and wine, increase to medium-high and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, approximately 5 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 400⁰F. Prepare a 9x13x2 baking dish.
- Combine sausage, leek and pear mixture, parsley, oregano, thyme, sage and 1 ½ cups chicken stock in a large bowl. Add cornbread, salt and pepper. Toss and let sit 10 minutes. Then add additional stock if needed. Bread should be very moist, but not soggy.
- Add eggs and mix gently just to combine and transfer to baking dish and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter.
- Cover dressing with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 20-30 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
DO AHEAD: Bake and toast cornbread 1 day ahead; store tightly wrapped at room temperature. Sausage, leek and pear mixtures can be cooked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately. Note: I always double the recipe!