- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing discarded
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed*
- 2 medium-sized yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds fennel bulbs finely chopped (about four and one-half cups)
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Pernod
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 5 cups crumbled corn bread
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or more, as needed*
In a large heavy skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps with a fork, until cooked through. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
Add the 4 tablespoons butter to the fat remaining in the skillet. Add the onions, chopped fennel, fennel seeds, and pine nuts and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the fennel is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the Pernod, thyme, sage, and garlic and continue to cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the mixture to the sausage, add the corn bread and toss to mix well. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper to taste and cool completely. Stuffing may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. To prevent bacterial growth, do not stuff the turkey until it is ready to go into the oven.
*Note: If you want to serve this as a dressing rather than a stuffing, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add along with 1/2 cup chicken broth or more to moisten. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.