1poundsweet Italian chicken sausage or turkey sausage
1medium yellow onionfinely chopped
4stalks celerycut in small dice
¼teaspoonground black pepper
3garlic clovesminced (about 1 tablespoon)
2tablespoonschopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1tablespoonfresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1tablespoonparsley flakes or 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1medium firm tart apple (such as Granny smith)peeled and 1/2-inch diced
Bake the cornbread (do this up to 2 days in advance): Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, with a baking rack on the middle level. Coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Melt the butter and let come to room temperature.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the milk and vinegar. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the milk has curdled slightly (you can also swap the milk for buttermilk, omit the vinegar, and skip this step). Stir in the honey, eggs, and melted butter.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients and fold gently to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until the cornbread is light and golden brown, with a deeper golden brown at the edges. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Once the cornbread is cool, cut it into 1-inch cubes (since the pan of cornbread is thicker than 1 inch, I cut mine into 1-inch cubes from the top, then turn each "row" of cubes on its side and then cut it in half again through the middle). Spread in a single layer on an ungreased or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. The cubes can touch, but don't overlap them (if your pan is too small, divide them onto two pans). Toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Make the stuffing: Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a very large bowl, whisk together the eggs and chicken broth.
In a large skillet on the stove, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the sausage to the skillet (if it’s in its casing, you can squeeze them into the skillet directly). Cook, breaking up the meat into crumbles. Add the apple.
Continue cooking until the sausage is cooked through almost completely, about 4 minutes more, then stir in the cranberries, sage, thyme, and parsley.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool a few minutes. Pour into the bowl with the broth and eggs, along with any cooking juices.
To the bowl, add the toasted cornbread cubes. With your largest spoon, stir very gently to combine the ingredients. Continue stirring and folding, until everything is evenly moistened.
Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until toasted on top and the center is moist but not overly damp. Serve warm.