On a busy Thanksgiving afternoon in the kitchen, cooking space can be at a premium. Turkey, rolls and sweet potatoes all crowded into the oven, burners occupied with the like of potatoes, peas and onions, gravy and cauliflower with other side dishes waiting in the wings. With actually stuffing the dressing into the great bird out of vogue these days (although I still call it stuffing), finding space to actually cook it may be a challenge. Why not turn to the ultimate comfort food tool to prepare the ultimate Thanksgiving comfort food? The slow cooker is a great way to optimize cooking space and get some of the food preparation out of the way before things really heat up in the kitchen. Crock pot sausage and cornbread stuffing is on the menu and, while we’re at it, we’re giving the classic dressing a little help from the garden.
Using the crock pot has an advantage beyond convenience. The long, slow cook merges flavors very well and ingredients like celery, cornbread and kale stand their ground next to sausage and sage. The result is a developed flavor profile that tastes like the holiday without trying too hard. On a day when the kitchen is crowded, chaotic and usually behind schedule, not trying too hard is something I can get behind.
Crock Pot Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing With Kale
- 8 cups cornbread, cubed
- 4 cups day-old bread, cubed
- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons sage, cropped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups kale, washed and chopped
- 32 ounces chicken broth
Place cornbread and day-old bread in a large bowl.
Add eggs, sage, salt and pepper.
Cook sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat and transfer to bowl with cornbread.
In the hot skillet, sauté onions and celery until soft.
Stir kale into skillet to wilt, then add skillet contents to bowl with other ingredients.
Stir to mix and transfer to slow cooker.
Add 32 ounces chicken broth.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours with the lid closed until thoroughly cooked.
Best served with turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and a house full of loved ones.