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Aunt May's Cornbread Stuffing

-from Sarah L.

This is a pretty standard recipe for stuffing in many southern communities and my late Aunt taught us all how to prepare it properly. It's a good thing she did, too, because her sister - my mother - just never got the knack of it.

It uses pork sausage and apples as the main flavors and foregoes any hint of traditional herbs like sage. In my house this is the go-to stuffing for the holidays.

In memory of my glorious and wayward Aunt May. Thanks for the memories...


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 ribs celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 package (16 ounces) cornbread stuffing crumbs or one pan fresh-baked cornbread, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS:

Melt 1/2 cup of the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add onions and celery and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in apples and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and combine immediately with cornbread in large bowl.

Crumble sausage into same skillet and cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain fat and add sausage to stuffing mix, along with walnuts and ginger.

Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and pour over stuffing mixture along with enough apple cider to barely moisten. For a moister stuffing, add more cider. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff mixture loosely into the bird's cavities (don't pack it too tightly!) and follow roasting instructions for the turkey. Stuffing can also be baked at 325 degrees Fahrenheit in a buttered casserole until browned and crunchy, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Makes enough for a 16 to 22-pound turkey, or about 14 Cups.

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