Michelle ~ A few years ago I had to come up with a replacement for my Mom's standard Pepperridge Farm Italian Breadcrumb stuffing for Thanksgiving. I grew up on the stuffing from the recipe on the back of that bag, but that year one of my sons had been diagnosed with Autism. We had gone gluten-free / casein-free (gfcf) and I couldn't imagine a Thanksgiving without her stuffing, or no stuffing. My world had been turned upside down and I really wanted something familiar that everyone could eat.
How to make stuffing without tons of butter? I needed Italian sausage that was gfcf. And of course, no breadcrumbs. After a few mishaps, I finally pulled one together that my entire family can eat and they actually love it. I ditched the breadcrumbs for gfcf egg-free cornbread, replaced butter with olive oil and made my own sausage. In fact (dare I say it) my version is better than the one I grew up on. Shhhh don't tell Mom.
Cornbread Stuffing with Homemade Sausage (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free)
- gluten-free casein-free cornbread – 12 muffins or 1 mix (I happen to make one that is egg-free from The Autism Cookbook because one of my guys doesn't tolerate egg but use one that you are familiar with. I use corn flour instead of cornmeal so the texture is softer but to each his own!)
- ~2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs of ground pork
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 1 onion chopped fine
- 1 celery stalk chopped fine
Make the cornbread in advance. Let it sit out and get stale if you want a more crumbly harder stuffing. No worries on this one because if you are like me and really aren't that organized then you make the cornbread the same day and cook it in the pan with the pork to get rid of excess moisture.
Heat the oil in a big pan on medium-high heat. Brown the pork breaking it up as it browns. Add the sage, oregano, salt and pepper. Taste, taste, taste, adjust. Dump the cooked ground pork into a strainer reserving a little bit of fat in the pan. Return the pan to the stove and add the onions and celery. Cook until transparent and fragrant. Add the pork back in. Taste, taste, taste. Turn off the heat and crumble the cornbread into the pan. Add as much cornbread as you want. Heat the whole mixture if the cornbread is too damp, add chicken or turkey broth if the mixture is too dry.
Editor's Cornbread Note: In a pinch, or if you don't have a solid recipe, you can use a gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread mix, such as Pamela's, The Gluten-Free Pantry, or Bob's Red Mill. If you want to stick with homemade, but don't have The Autism Cookbook, try this free-from cornbread recipe on Go Dairy Free.
Makes 12 side-dish servings
Photo credit: Whole Foods Market
So there it is. A gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free cornbread stuffing. And delicious to boot. Please modify it to your liking – more sage for some, crunchier cornbread for others.
I would like to thank my son for leading me to this stuffing and down a amazing parenting path that seems to have no end of wonders. Happy Thanksgiving!
Recipe and article by Michelle Smith, the mother of 3 sons who all have food allergies. She manages to implement a gluten-free casein-free diet as well as avoiding tree nuts, peanuts, salmon, egg and dairy in all forms. Her children are also intolerant of many foods such as soy, cucumber, melon, sweet potato and corn. Her blog will include tips and stories about living a gfcf plus life.