While some parts of the country call it stuffing even when it's not stuffed inside a Thanksgiving turkey, other Americans refer to bread and herbs baked in a bowl as dressing. No matter what you call it, here's the best way to make it.
This recipe by Leah Eskin was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 Pound mild Italian pork sausage (bulk or slipped out of casings)
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 Pound white button mushrooms, halved or quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 Teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 Teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 Cup dry sherry
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pan (8-inches square) cornbread, broken up
- 1 Cup chicken broth
- 2 Cups candied pecans
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook sausage, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop sausage into a large bowl.
Reduce heat under skillet to medium. Melt in 1 tablespoon butter. Tumble in celery and onions; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Scrape into bowl with sausage.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil (use the same skillet or a separate one). Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms turn a lovely deep brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, 30 seconds. Deglaze with sherry. Scrape into bowl.
Sprinkle parsley into the bowl. Tumble in cornbread. Toss well. Drizzle in broth, stopping when cornbread is moist, but not mushy.
Turn dressing into a buttered baking dish. Cover with foil. Slide into a 375-degree oven and bake until hot, 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until a little crisp on top, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in candied pecans.