Herbed Cornbread Dressing with Sausage & Fennel
This herbed cornbread dressing is packed with sautéed spicy sausage, onions, fennel, and herbs. It requires very little fat but yields a lot of flavor. Note that for a large crowd you can easily double this recipe.
- 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage
- 1-1-1/3 cup water
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped fresh fennel, 1/2-inch cubes (from 1 large bulb)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 loaf Herbed ‘Spider’ Cornbread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
Cut the sausage out of the casing and place in a large skillet. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook 8 minutes, stirring and breaking the sausage up into small pieces. Add the oil, fennel, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, and rosemary, and cook, stirring often, another 5 minutes. There should still be water in the skillet; if the water has dried up, add another 1/2 cup. Add half the parsley plus salt and pepper to taste. The sausage should be cooked through, and the fennel should be cooked but still have a slight bite. There should be enough water in the skillet to keep all the ingredients moist.
Place the cornbread in a bowl and add all the ingredients from the skillet. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
Bake the dressing in a medium-size (approximately 2-quart) casserole dish in a 350° oven 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.