Ladies and gentlemen, we have a dining room table! We also have an amazing cornbread, cranberry and apple stuffing that was definitely worthy of the inaugural meal at our new table.
One of the most exciting things about moving into a house with more space was the prospect of comfortably hosting dinner parties with friends and family. I am not going to say that we ever let a small house stop us from cramming our previous home in the name of a good party, but I anxiously awaited the day to seat friends and family around a large dinner table for a comfy and tasty meal.
As we unpacked our boxes and started to get the lay of our new land, Allen decided that he wanted to build our dining room table. I instantly agreed and immediately began to romanticize how this table would hold and cherish our family history. Our friends and family would gather around this table to share amazing food, beautiful stories, and endless laughter for holidays, birthdays, dinner parties, sleepovers, and more for years and years to come. This table that would proudly be passed down from generation to generation.
I could not wait to get started…. I should clarify…. I could not wait for Allen to get started!
While Allen’s dad has some experience woodworking, this would be Allen’s first project. We eagerly designed a table for our new dining room, to seat as many people as possible within our space. Our final design was 8 feet by 4 feet. I think it is safe to say that both Allen and I *may* have underestimated the scale of this project!
I can take no credit for the actual construction of the table, but I am happy to report that after 5 months, countless hours, and many lessons learned, the table is complete! Not only is the table complete, but it is fabulous!
The inaugural dinner at our new table was also amazing! We hosted our Supper Club and each course was impressively delicious. We prepared the main course, and I instantly fell in love with this cranberry, apple and cornbread stuffing. Both savory and sweet this stuffing would pair fantastically with poultry or pork. It is perfect for the holidays or as part of a warm and hearty winter meal!
CRANBERRY, APPLE & CORNBREAD STUFFING
16 cups cubed cornbread
1 lb pork sausage
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups diced celery (5 ribs)
2 cups diced onion (2 medium onions)
1 ½ cups diced carrots (2 large carrots)
2 Tbsp finely chopped sage
1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5 cups diced Granny Smith apples, peel on (5 medium apples)
2-3 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cube cornbread and set aside.
In a large pan, over medium high heat, brown the sausage. Remove the cooked sausage with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain some of the excess grease.
Once the sausage is removed, add the butter to the remaining drippings in the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, celery, carrots, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then add the chopped apples and cranberries and cook until the apples begin to soften slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl (I had to use my roasting pan), combine the cubed bread crumbs, sausage, and vegetable/apple mixture.
Slowly drizzle the chicken stock over the stuffing to moisten. Continue to stir and drizzle until the entire mixture is moist, but not soggy.
Spoon the stuffing into a baking dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes; uncover and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… I had every intention of baking the cornbread to use in this stuffing. As I passed the bakery section of my local grocery store and caught 2 packages of pre-made cornbread staring at me longingly from the shelf, I decided the shortcut would probably be worth it and tossed them in the cart. Totally worth it.