Sausage, Quinoa, & Cornbread Dressing (or Stuffing!)
No Thanksgiving table is complete without the quintessential turkey side – stuffing…I mean, dressing, as Our State Magazine so lovingly points out to us transplants. We may not be Carolina natives, but we think we’ve come up with a good regional recipe and something reminiscent of the foods served at the first Thanksgiving. Using our beloved Smithey Cast Iron Skillet, we’ve combined a homemade cornbread, hearty and textural red quinoa, and delicious chicken sausage from local NC grocer, Lowes Foods.
First things first, we need to bake some cornbread for our base. My go-to during the fall and holiday seasons is this sweet and savory whole-grain variety. Earthy sage and sweet honey are the perfect complement to the nutty, textural, grainy goodness of cornmeal and whole wheat flours.
Create that classic golden-brown cornbread crust by baking this beauty in a Smithy Cast Iron Skillet. Manufactured in Charleston, SC, Smithey skillets are honed down to a glassy, satin-smooth finish, making them virtually non-stick, right of out of the box. Seriously, I’ve never had a cornbread bake so evenly or achieve that beautiful golden crust so easily than with my Smithey!
SWEET & SAVORY WHOLE GRAIN CORNBREAD
- 1 ½ cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. course salt
- 2 small eggs or 1 ½ large eggs
- 1 ½ cups low fat buttermilk
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Handful of sage leaves, chopped in a chiffonade
- Preheat oven to 400F. Preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet on low heat on the stovetop.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk, 2 Tbsp. olive oil and half of sage chiffonade.
- Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients with your spatula until just combined.
- Add remaining olive oil to preheated skillet, swirling to coat bottom. Turn off heat.
- Pour batter in skillet – you should hear a sizzling sound. This will give the bread a golden-brown crust without burning it. Smooth top with spatula.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Reserve about half of the cornbread (~ 4 cups, cubed) for the stuffing/dressing.
SAUSAGE, RED QUINOA, AND CORNBREAD DRESSING (or DRESSING!)
- 4 stalks celery, chopped with leaves
- ½ large sweet onion, chopped
- Lowes Foods Sausageworks – Silician Chicken Sausage, ground or links, removed from casings.
- ½ tsp. Poultry Seasoning
- 3 cups red quinoa, cooked (When preparing quinoa, you’ll get ~3 cups by starting with 1 cup dry quinoa and 2 cups water.)
- 4 cups skillet cornbread, cubed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped in a chiffonade
- A few cracks of fresh salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and sausage. Use angled turner to break up sausage. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add celery, onion, poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to skillet. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until sausage is lightly browned and celery and onions are soft and translucent.
- Add quinoa, cornbread, chicken stock, and half of the sage chiffonade to skillet. Stir with spoonula to coat mixture with stock. Add a little more stock if mixture seems dry.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is browned. If browning too fast, cover with foil.
- Remove from oven. Garnish with remaining sage chiffonade.