A combination of apple, cornbread, and sausage come together to create the perfect alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. If you’re tired of the usual recipe, this is a great way to switch things up and find a new favorite. This dish should be on your Thanksgiving table this holiday!
Bake one recipe for cornbread in a 9x13 baking dish. Once baked, allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes. Then cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on two large baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in a 275°F oven until the cornbread is toasted and dry, 1 hour. Once dry, remove the cornbread from the oven to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set it aside.
In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are softened but not turning brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme leaves, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the sausage and break it into small bite-size pieces. Continue to sauté until the sausage is browned and cooked, 6-8 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, remove the mixture from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the prepared dry cornbread pieces, sausage mixture, and any residual butter in the skillet. Add the beaten eggs, apples, and stock. Stir to combine. The cornbread will crumble slightly. Pour the stuffing into the prepared baking dish and bake at 350°F until the center of the stuffing is puffed and slightly golden, 55-60 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven. Let cool slightly before serving.
Rather than letting the cornbread dry at room temperature, dry it in the oven. This way, the bread will dry out the entire way through rather than simply getting dry on the exterior with a soft interior.
Adding the garlic at the end of the onions and celery cooking will prevent it from burning or getting too bitter. When garlic cooks for too long, it can easily burn, so strategically timing when it is added makes for a more successful recipe.
When mixing together the cornbread, other ingredients, and the stock, mix until the amount of liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl is at a minimum. If necessary, allow the mixture to rest while the cornbread soaks up some of the remaining liquid.