Cornbread and Fennel Sausage Stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing
Photo by Beth Kennedy

Recipe courtesy Erin Clarke, executive chef, Casa Luca, Washington DC

Erin Clarke’s flavorful yet simple dressing (if it’s prepared outside the bird, it’s called “dressing”) recipe saves time and oven space on Thanksgiving. Prepare the dressing the day before the event, and reheat it before carving the bird.

Rethink Your Turkey This Thanksgiving
  • 6 ounces fresh Italian fennel sausage
  • ½ cup rendered pancetta fat/drippings (may substitute butter)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 15 medium fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 5 cups cornbread, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Milk or chicken stock, if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: The cornbread pieces you use should be coarse, not crumbly.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In skillet over medium heat, crumble sausage and cook until browned. Remove sausage, leaving any drippings. Add rendered pancetta fat, then add onion, celery and sage. Sauté until tender, but not browned.

Combine sausage with mixture, and add cornbread. Add milk, chicken stock or water to moisten the crumbs, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In covered casserole dish, bake 45 minutes. If cooked in advance, reheat 15–20 minutes, moistening with small amount of chicken stock, if necessary. For individual servings, bake in oiled ramekins or muffin tin for 20 to 25 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Serves 4–6.

Published on November 18, 2016
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email:

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