Cornbread Dressing with Sausage, Apples and Mushrooms
- 4 cups artisan/crusty bread (such as ciabatta), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 32 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 Granny Smith apples, large dice
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup white wine
- 32 ounces low-sodium (very low) chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (or more to taste)
- Black pepper
- Fresh parsley, minced
Allow the cubed bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until completely dried out.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. The mushrooms will be very coated, but that's good! Divide the mushrooms between 2 cookie sheets and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting. Remove from the oven when the mushrooms are deep brown. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, crumble and brown the sausage over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside. Pour off any excess grease and, without cleaning the skillet, add in the diced onions and brown for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the diced apples, brown sugar and some salt. Cook until deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and pour in the wine (be careful if you're using an open flame). Stir and cook to reduce the liquid by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add the chicken broth, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Heat for a few minutes, and then set aside.
Add the bread to a large bowl, and then add the browned sausage, mushrooms and apple/onion mixture (and any juice that might have accumulated). Next, add the broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared to not use all of the liquid according to your taste.
Check the seasonings at the end and add in minced parsley. Pour into a large baking dish (I used an iron skillet) and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes. (Or you can stuff the turkey if you're into that kind of thing.)
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