Recipe: Cornbread Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Roasted Fennel & Andouille Sausage

Most agree the turkey is not the actual centerpiece of Thanksgiving meals, but rather the side dishes are the stars of the show. Whether your favorite be cranberries or potatoes or your grandmas’ special something, at Lockbox we are most thankful for stuffing – or dressing as southerners call it. For this Thanksgiving, we’re digging way back to our southern roots and opting for a sweet cornbread stuffing with some modern updates. For a european nod, get fancy with some fennel and add a little andouille sausage for a New Orleans kick and this stuffing will be calling your name from the fridge at midnight. We think that’s pretty much a guarantee.

For the Cornbread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup cornmeal
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 whole eggs
1 2/3 cup buttermilk

Combine all dry ingredients together.
Combine all wet ingredients together separately.
Whisk wet ingredients into dry.
Pour into a nonstick sprayed 9”x13” baking dish.
Bake at 325F for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the Stuffing:
2 cups butternut squash (large dice)
2 cups fennel (large dice)
1 cup celery (medium dice)
1 cup carrot (medium dice)
2 cups onion (medium dice)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cups andouille sausage (medium dice)
1 quart turkey stock (chicken stock will work if turkey is unavailable)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 cups cornbread (1” dice and left out to dry for 24 hours)

To make the custard, combine eggs, milk, dijon, sage, thyme, parsley salt white pepper and cayenne. Whisk until well combined. 
Place the dried cornbread cubes in a bowl and cover with custard. Toss until bread is well coated. 
Place in refrigerator overnight. 
The next day, preheat the oven to 350F. 
Toss the butternut squash and fennel with vegetable oil, salt and pepper until just coated and seasoned. 
Lay the squash and fennel out on a sheet tray and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to caramelize. 
Remove from oven and set aside for later.  Heat a large fry pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. 
Once hot, add the diced andouille sausage and cook until it has started to brown on all sides.  Stir often for about 5 minutes. 
Once browned, pull the sausage out of the pan onto a separate plate while cooking remaining ingredients.
Gently wipe the pan out that the sausage was cooked in being careful not to remove any brown bits created while cooking the sausage. 
Put the pan back on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and once the oil is hot, add the onions, carrot and celery. 
Drop the heat to medium low and cook the vegetables gently until soft. 
Be careful not to get any color on the vegetables as they cook. 
Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside. 
In a large bowl combine the cornbread, sausage, fennel, butternut squash, celery, onions and carrots. 
Fold well until all ingredients are well combined and evenly dispersed. 
If the stuffing seems bit dry for your taste add a bit of turkey stock. 
Taste for seasoning and add some salt if necessary. 
Place mixed ingredients in a nonstick sprayed baking dish.
Cover with foil and place in the oven. 
Bake for 30 minutes. 
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and toasty. 
Serve and enjoy!