My very first food business, The Lunch Basket (later The Lunch Bunch), catered to the Black community in my neighborhood. Part of my mission was to give them really yummy meals that didn’t include beef or pork. I wanted to show them that healthy eating could be satisfying and tasty. So instead of ham biscuits for lunch, I stuffed the sandwiches with roast turkey. Oh, man, they ate it up! All of it! I could barely keep up with demand, cooking out of my little apartment.
When the holidays rolled around, I used turkey sausage in a classic cornbread dressing and got rave reviews. It was a good test-drive for my family’s feast because my sister, Kim, and her husband don’t eat pork. They couldn’t get enough of this dressing and it’s become a staple on the table each year.
4 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 pound fresh turkey sausage, casing removed
Skillet Cornbread (page 000), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Chicken Stock (page 000) or store-bought unsalted broth
1. Preheat the oven to 375[DG]F.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil, then add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the poultry seasoning and season with salt. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the sausage in the same skillet, stirring and breaking up into crumbles with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Add the cornbread and toss until well mixed.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, cream, and stock until well combined. Pour over the cornbread and stir until well mixed. Form the mixture into 2-inch-diameter patties, each 1/2-inch thick.
5. Wipe out the skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add enough of the remaining oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add a few of the patties and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining patties, replenishing the oil and heating it with each batch. Transfer to the oven and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.