When you bake stuffing in a casserole instead of inside the turkey, it allows the bird to roast more quickly and you get to have stuffing with a crusty top and sides. This one is made with commercially prepared cornbread (buy an 8-inch square or use a mix such as the one available at Trader Joe’s, which bakes in an 8-inch pan). Brown sweet Italian sausage until it forms large crumbles, saute lots of celery and onions, and mix them with cubes of cornbread, sage, and golden raisins. It’s OK to make the stuffing and chill it the night before. Bake with foil, moisten it with chicken stock, and continue baking without foil until it’s golden.
|Olive oil (for the dish)|
|1½||pounds sweet Italian pork sausage, loose or removed from casing|
|6||stalks celery, finely chopped|
|2||large onions, finely chopped|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|¼||cup chopped fresh sage|
|¾||cup golden raisins|
|1||prepared 8-inch cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes|
|¾||cup chicken stock|
|Extra sprigs fresh sage (for garnish)|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until it forms large clumps. Remove the sausage from the pan and transfer to a large bowl that will hold all the ingredients later.
3. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the celery, onions, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
4. Add the celery mixture to the sausage mixture with the sage and raisins. Stir well. Fold in the cornbread. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Cover with foil.
5. Bake the cornbread, covered, for 30 minutes. Discard the foil and pour the chicken stock evenly all over the stuffing. Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is browned in spots on the top and along the sides. Garnish with sage leaves.