Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing with Sage {gluten-free}

date11.17.14

Apple & Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

Sausage Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Even though I’ve dreamed of city life since I was just a kid hoping to one day make it big in the movies, I’m a small-town country girl at heart. I like to think I’ve learned a bit of city street smarts over the years since I moved away from home, but it hasn’t always been that way and it’s certainly taken time. There are things you take for granted when you live with your parents that slap you in the face as soon as you’re on your own – subtle but more vital things than laundry or dishes.

Things like changing the oil in your car, for example. How are you supposed to know that your dad’s been changing your oil all these years? Hopefully not by your car overheating and your radiator cracking during your first year in college like me.

Or things like how much liquid to put into homemade cornbread stuffing. That one’s from today and we’ll come back to it.

Herbed Stuffing

How to drive on a highway is another prime example. When I took to the open road for my first out-of-town driving excursion at age 17, I made a big mistake. I begged my parents to let my friend Lacy and I take a 2½ -hour day trip to Six Flags, but they were pretty steadfast in their “no-out-of-town driving” rule.

A rule I got caught breaking right after getting my license when my best friend and I drove 40 miles to the Penny Candy Store after my mom explicitly forbade the trip. I’m still not sure whether she discovered my candy wrappers, was suspicious of the bag of satsuma mandarins I’d brought home from the stand on side of the road, or checked the mileage in my car, but regardless, she was not pleased. No bother though because either way, I still had a month’s supply of frooties to pig out on.

Fresh HerbsCornbread Stuffing Steps

So when my mom finally agreed to let Lacy and I take the car to Six Flags during the summer before senior year, we printed the MapQuest directions (yup, MapQuest) and were out the door before she could remember the penny candy store trip and change her mind.

Here’s what you don’t learn when you grow up driving in a one-freeway town: Highways have directions. And they aren’t “toward the mall” and “away from the mall.” You’d think that’d be intuitive, but let me assure you, it isn’t.

About an hour into our 2½-hour trip after passing Cottonwood and signs for Mount Shasta, we called my dad to verify that Cottonwood was on the way to Six Flags. It’s not. It’s an hour in the wrong direction.

That’s right, on my first out-of-town road trip, I drove an hour in the wrong direction on I-5. Apparently that little “S” on the print-out meant something. We eventually made it to Six Flags, but don’t tell mom how fast we drove to get there.

Gluten-free Cornbread StuffingHerbed Cornbread Stuffing

Even though I’ve made this exact stuffing for the past five Thanksgivings, I still had to call my mom today just to make sure I didn’t drive an hour in the wrong direction while making this stuffing. I’m in charge of the stuffing every year, but I took for granted the opportunity to ask mom “is this stuffing too dry?” until she wasn’t by my side making mashed potatoes.

This is the only stuffing recipe I’ll ever need, yet somehow this is the first time I’ve written it down in its entirety. Without fail, every Thanksgiving, I have to search through my inbox to find the 5 year old e-mail to mom with my Thanksgiving shopping list just to recall what I put in my stuffing. Not this Thanksgiving though. Last year I was smart enough to make a draft e-mail with a list of ingredients that finally today got turned into an actual recipe (obviously draft e-mails are the most efficient way to store cherished recipes).

Gluten-free Apple Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

Without a written recipe, this stuffing has gone through many iterations. It started with a seasoned cornbread stuffing box mix. The first version didn’t have onions as one guest adamantly despised them. Then there was the couple of years that my mom snuck water chestnuts in (I’ve since vetoed them – it’s a texture thing). Last year was the first experiment in making the stuffing entirely gluten-free with homemade cornbread, and this year I swapped out most of the dried herbs for fresh ones.

For this version, I mixed homemade cornbread with a few chopped up slices of toasted whole grain bread to add a study texture to the stuffing that won’t fall apart when tossed with liquid and vegetables. This stuffing is packed with pungent fresh herbs and a bit of spice from the sausage that contrasts the sweet apples and corn. If there’s one Thanksgiving leftover that people fight over in our house, it’s this apple and sausage cornbread stuffing.

What’s in your family’s traditional stuffing? 

Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing with SausageThanks for reading Snixy Kitchen! To stay up on what’s coming out of my kitchen,  follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TwitterBloglovin’, or Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail to get new recipes right to your inbox.

Sausage and Apple Cornbread Stuffing {gluten-free}
Author: 
Yields: 12-14 as a side
 
Ingredients
  • 1 gluten-free buttermilk skillet cornbread, chopped into 1-inch squares (I bake the cornbread 2 days ahead of time and leave it on the counter to dry out).
  • 8 slices gluten-free whole grain or white bread, chopped into ½" squares
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 fuji apples, core removed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, minced (or ¾ teaspoon dried marjoram)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced (or ¾ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried sage)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Pinch dried nutmeg
  • 3 to 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Spread the cornbread and chopped white bread evenly over 2 baking sheets and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy and lightly browned, tossing every 5 minutes (if using a dark coated baking sheet, toasting time will be only around 5 minutes). When the bread is toasted, remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 375°F.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. In the same pan, melt the butter (if you have a lot of sausage grease, you might not need butter - I had almost none). Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions begin to sweat, about 4 minutes. Add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to the same mixing bowl with the sausage.
  5. Toss the sausage and vegetables with the marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, nutmeg, and toasted cornbread and bread.
  6. Pour in 3 cups of the chicken broth and toss to coat. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes and toss again. If it's still dry, add up to ½ cup more chicken broth, slowly. You want it to be moist, but not soggy.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Transfer to a large baking dish (usually I bake mine in two 9x13 glass baking dishes). Bake at 375°F for 20-30 minutes, until the top begins to get crispy and brown. For a bit of extra crisp, put it under the broiler for 3 minutes.
Notes
This makes a big batch of stuffing since we usually have the whole family together for Thanksgiving. It's our favorite dish and it keeps well as leftovers, so even when it's just a few of us, we always want the leftovers!

 

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59 Comments

  1. Veronica says:

    I love your recipe! I use many of the same ingredients but I must say the apples would be a nice addition. I have never used any other bread in the mix except cornbread but I can see that it would make the stuffing hold up better. The last 10 years we have spent thanksgiving with our family in San Antonio so I usually wait to fix my stuffing for Christmas Dinner. Have a wonderful and beautiful Thanksgiving!

  2. That was exactly how I felt when I flew across the world to live on my own for the very first time. Though I was (still am) glad I did. Parents, at that point, were more like a “support system” to answer all the questions we got from the “real world.” Yours was such a cute story, and yes, this looks like a yummy stuffing to bookmark. <3

  3. Oh my gosh, YES, draft emails for daaaaays. And yes to the looking up the 5-year-old email with Mom’s recipe. I just tried cornbread stuffing for the first time a few weeks ago, yes really, and sage is where it’s AT. So good.
    PS Mapquest? Who ARE you?

    • Haha – I still say “mapquest” instead of “google maps” in everyday conversation. Kinda like “kleenex” instead of “tissue.” Lucas makes fun of me every single time.

  4. Amanda Paa says:

    gah! love this story. i’ve driven the wrong way a few times myself. or gotten on the tram and gone the wrong way. can be frustrating. this stuffing looks wonderful! i just did a little thanksgiving tune-up by making some gf stuffing with brussels sprouts and mushrooms over the weekend. this looks like another variation i need to try! xo

    • Oh man, fortunately I’ve never done that, but my husband HAS fallen asleep on BART and missed our stop – oops.

      Stuffing with brussels sprouts sounds amazing. Maybe I should just spend this whole week eating nothing but different stuffing recipes!

  5. Nicole, RD says:

    The fact that cornbread is gluten-free is such a blessing…and this stuffing would compliment any Thanksgiving feast for gfree-ers and all else!

  6. Love recipes like this!! Recipes that have been in the family for years and change a little here and there. . looks so good!! Sadly, we grew up eating stuffing out of a box. As kids,
    StoveTop tasted delicious. . and now I make the homemade stuffing. . love the sausage and apples here! This year, I’m actually making a bread pudding but who knows, a stuffing might pop up on the table too! :)

  7. Julia says:

    Great recipe Sarah! Love the fresh herbs! What restaurant have you had the best Sausage Apple Cornbread? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/snixykitchen

  8. Yum, this looks so good!!! Can I come over to your house for Thanksgiving??

  9. This looks absolutely amazing!! Cornbread stuffing is amazing, and I love the apples in there. Pinned!

  10. So has your driving improved since then? I’m sure your cooking has! :) Yummy stuffing. I’ve actually never made stuffing myself, but love to eat it.

  11. You JUST reminded me that I need to check the oil in my car! Thanks friend! And I have had some bad driving scenarios myself. It’s amazing how utterly clueless you are about directions when you 16, even though you’ve grown up in the same town your whole life. Trying to remember how to get Nordstrom is quite the brain task. And I totally remember MapQuest! How did we live without our phones for GPS? This stuffing sounds SO delicious! I want to try this variation!

  12. The fact that this is a fought-over leftover in your home speaks volumes about how good it must be! I love your story :) I also have important recipes that I need to search through several year’s of emails to find every time … haha probably best if I wrote them out or put them on my blog too, just in case!

    • Right?! And usually the e-mail recipes are like half-formed ideas. Here’s a list of ingredients without any indication of how long or at what temperature you baked it. Would be SO much easier if I just posted it on the blog;)

  13. Sheri Nix says:

    I can’t wait to taste this delicious stuffing on Thanksgiving!!

  14. I am totally a draft email list-maker. You always know where it is, right?! This apple and sausage with cornbread combo sound like such a delicious stuffing!

  15. Mira says:

    Cornbread stuffing sounds great Sarah! I love your recipe, the addition of apples sounds awesome! Like the driving out of town story, I’ve done something similar, too :)

  16. 1. I’m REALLY good at directions. It’s my thing. You’ll never be lost again!

    2. Sean had the TOUGHEST time leaving SF because he grew up in a small town too. Pretty sure he never accidentally drove to Mt Shasta though. (“Did I ever tell you how Sean grew up on a farm?”)

    3. PENNY CANDY STORE?

    4. I… make… Stove Top. I’m sorry! I think it’s delicious! Something in the special herbs and spices and… chemicals, I’m sure. But we always HAVE another stuffing (for the REAL grown ups) and my family would DIE for this one. YUM, SARAH. AS USUAL.

    • Haha wait, no. Tell me about how Sean grew up on a farm.

      YES – PENNY CANDY STORE. And it’s EXACTLY what the name implies. I could just order it on Amazon, but I’d much rather spend $40 on gas to go in person. Want to go with me? It’s approximately 2 hours away.

      I vote you make both. Obviously. Do it in the name of family.

  17. There’s something lovely about being in the countryside, that’s for sure. And I definitely CANNOT change the oil in my car, which is the worst!

  18. One of my favorite things about having a blog is when you finally publish those recipes that you never write down or have to call your mom to remind you how their made! So, I love stuffing and it was my thing back in the days before I was married and vegetarian. So I loved to use apples and cranberries and sometimes even a little faux sausage. I think I’ll always love that type the very best even though these days I usually just stick to the plain Jane bread stuffing cause my husband likes it best. Sigh…. the things we do for love ; )

    • MMMM – cranberries sounds like an excellent choice. I’ve made this version with a little faux sausage for my brother before and it’s also quite tasty! Aw – all in the name of love;)

  19. Oh man! This recipe is totally getting me in the holiday spirit! Can you believe we were a no-stuffing kind of family growing up? It was always too mushy and weird, so we’d refuse to eat it. My mom just gave up. I’m realizing now it may have been a recipe issue and not an actual stuffing issue…

  20. Min says:

    Haha seriously..your stories, Sarah..they just crack me up so so much. Thank you for that. I wish I had more memories of getting to actually drive a car during my high school years. You see,my sister and I are 1 1/2 years apart, and my parents (I shall not forgive them for this) decided that we were fully capable of figuring it out amongst ourselves how we can fairly share the car. Let’s just say that everyday I woke up and looked out the window, the car was gone! (I mean where did she go at 7 in the morning?). Anyway, glad those days are behind me. No wonder I’m still a terrible driver. Not enough practice haha. Anyway, this stuffing looks fabulous! You know how I recently posted a vegetarian cornbread dressing? well my sister def was not happy and texted me that morning saying “I want sausage!” I just found that recipe to make for her royal highness ;)

    • Yay! You made my day by telling me that – If I can make just one person laugh, then I feel successful:) Oh man – your sister probably just drove it around the corner and went back to sleep! Bahahah – she sounds like she knows what’s up in the land of stuffing though;) (Actually, your vegetarian cornbread dressing sounded delicious too!).

  21. I totally blame MapQuest for you going in the wrong direction MapQuest NEVER worked for me. Always took me to the wrong place. Of course, perhaps I’m also bad with directions :) This stuffing looks fantastic by the way!

  22. Hahaha, we were all oh so wise in our youth, weren’t we? This stuffing looks so legit… I totally wish I was at your Thanksgiving day celebration just for a spoonful (or pan full) of this stuffing.

  23. Oh my goodness. I’m going to my boyfriend’s fam’s house for Thanksgiving and we’re helping cook. Apparently his grandmother won’t have stuffing unless it has sausage in it. I laughed but whatever, gotta give Grandma what she wants. I think this recipe is fate. LET’S BE FRIENDS

  24. This stuffing not only looks beautiful, but I have a feeling it taste divine as well. Such a wonderful recipe

  25. Hahaha we totally used Mapquest before GPS and our smartphones too :) It was the best thing ever back then. And I’m sure this stuffing is too. It looks positively amazing! Love the fuji apples and all those fresh herbs in here! The stuffing is always my favorite part and I can’t wait to try yours – pinning!

  26. Oh hohohoh,……don’t get me started on driving towards the wrong direction, girl! I am notorious for getting lost and only got a GPS 2 years ago. Before that I went by Mapquest or “intuition”, which got me lost for 5 hours once when I was in high school :((( Hah! How sad.

    And I haven’t tried stuffing with cornbread but of course it’s delicious! I wouldn’t say we have a “traditional” recipe for anything during Thanksgiving, and it’s usually all made by me and I make everything pretty much as I go (not smart probably), but I do always include a bunch of herbs and apple chunks!!! Makes it healthy, sweet, and wholesome. :D

    • Oh man – once you try cornbread stuffing, you’ll never go back. It’s sweet and savory and everything. I love that you cook your stuffing by “feel” – I bet it turns out unique and delicious EVERY time.

  27. Sarah, each of your posts are such a treat to read AND to look at! I can almost taste that delicious looking stuffing. We always make a homemade stuffing (not gluten free, unfortunately) with the most delicious giblet gravy in the world! Don’t get queezy at the sound of giblets..it really it amazing! Thanksgiving is a huge production at our house…we cook ALL day long and make about 10 different sides and at least 4-5 desserts. We love the holidays.

  28. How come I’ve never heard of Frooties until now? I think I want to buy a bag…

    We don’t a traditional family stuffing. Every since I started cooking, I make a different version every year. I just haven’t found “the one” yet. Alex loves cornbread stuffing so maybe I’ll make your version this year :)

    • OH MY GAWWWD. E-mail me your address and I’ll have some delivered to you. They’re like tootsie rolls, but FRUITY. Like intensely fruity. (I’m not kidding – e-mail me your address…I promise I won’t just show up unannounced;).

  29. I love the sound of this stuffing!

  30. It’s so funny because I can see my mom wanting to sneak water chestnuts in this too. She seems to believe that everything needs to be crunchier with water chestnuts. I find them in her dumplings ALL the time! I remember dropping off one of my roommates at the Sac airport once and got lost trying to get back to Davis. The roads were so dark, I thought I was going the right way until I saw signs for Yuba, and I thought, that name doesn’t sound familiar! My experience wasn’t quite as epic as yours, but I totally know how it feels to get lost!

  31. You and I must have the same recipes ideas and thoughts this week. I totally posted a traditional stuffing recipe too. That is two days in a row now. Hehe. You know what they say, great minds think alike. This looks amazing Sarah! Your pictures are gorgeous and its making me want to jump through my screen so I can eat it right this second. :)

  32. Emily Althouse(!) says:

    Awww, your story makes me nostalgic for so many things… it’s pretty much a story from my childhood too. Not a huge surprise that we were the exact same growing up, considering how alike we are now! :)

    Also, shout out to my iphone for saving me from getting lost and driving an hour in the wrong direction SO MANY TIMES!!!

    • Oh my – this comment just MADE MY DAY. Thank you so much for reading my stories – and for commenting. And for being you:) Also – (!!!!!! How’s it feel to write it?!). I miss you already.

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