Tommie’s Cornbread Sausage Dressing

Belinda Ellis is the editor of Edible Piedmont and the author of "Biscuits." She shares this very special family recipe that harkens back to simpler times and shows how great recipes always will endure.
By / Photography By Fred Thompson | November 15, 2015

Ingredients

  • 1 pound country breakfast sausage (extra sage flavor is best)
  • 1 cup yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups celery, roughly chopped
  • 9 cups baked cornbread, using recipe on package, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus additional as needed
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup hot water

Preparation

In a 12-inch frying pan, cook the sausage, crumbling as it cooks, until just no longer pink. Drain and reserve the fat. Place the sausage in a very large (bread-size) mixing bowl.

Return the fat to the frying pan. Heat the sausage fat, add the onions and celery and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture in with sausage.

Start adding the cornbread to the bowl, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and cream of chicken soup and egg. Stir just until blended.

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 15 x17 inch or a 9 x13 x 3 inch pan and an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Pour the dressing into the pan or pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned on the top and hot. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 12 servings

About this recipe

Belinda Ellis is the editor of Edible Piedmont and the author of Biscuits. She shares this very special family recipe that harkens back to simpler times and shows how great recipes always will endure.

“Cornbread dressing is a Southern musthave for Thanksgiving in my family. It is my mother, Tommie Ellis’ recipe that she started making in the 60s when she took over the extended family holiday cooking. I recall the first few times she hosted Thanksgiving, my mother would always worry about getting the flavor just right. She called my sister and me to taste the raw mixture (nowadays without the egg) until we were happy with the flavors. It didn’t take long before we realized that we like raw dressing better than baked, so we always said no—it needed more sage or more salt as an excuse to eat more dressing. We still ‘taste’ the dressing and tweak the recipe until we ‘get it right’ as an excuse for a preholiday snack.”

This cornbread is better if made the day before it is baked, and don’t expect loose style dressing. The texture of this cornbread is an old-timey Southern tradition of dressing that is dense and cuts into squares.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound country breakfast sausage (extra sage flavor is best)
  • 1 cup yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups celery, roughly chopped
  • 9 cups baked cornbread, using recipe on package, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus additional as needed
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup hot water
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