I spend most of my time writing about home cooking. Normally, there’s not a whole lot of breaking news involved. But when Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — a person known for her kitchen prowess — drops a dressing recipe on Twitter less than two days before Thanksgiving, well, that’s the food writer’s equivalent of the Friday afternoon political news dump.

Harris says the cornbread dressing is one of her family’s favorite recipes. It’s chock full of spicy sausage, apples, onions, celery and herbs. And the cornbread comes from two packages of boxed mix, which, as I know from personal experience, tends to get people riled up.

On Wednesday afternoon, having not started one iota of my own holiday prep, I set about putting together Harris’s dressing. I read her Twitter thread over and over, attempting to sniff out all the details. Politicians can be notoriously hard to extract details from, and unfortunately, that was sometimes the case here.

I found a few glaring holes in the recipe, most with regard to equipment and time — not insignificant points. We’re not told what to bake the cornbread in or for how long (the box instructions don’t address a double batch). Nor do we know how much oil, in what type of pan or how long to cook the sausage. No insight on how long the apples and vegetables are cooked, either. There’s salt and pepper in the ingredients but not the steps. Are the rosemary, sage and thyme dried? And so on. I tried to fill in gaps by analyzing the images online. Is that skin on the apple? How could all this food, practically overflowing my skillet, fit in a square baking dish? Then I consulted a slew of other recipes in our archives.

None of these omissions were dealbreakers. They did, however, leave a little too much up to chance, especially for beginners. Still, the recipe was appealing enough, and the source newsworthy enough, to plow ahead. It took about an hour to assemble. Nothing was taxing skill-wise, although after blowing through so many bowls, pans, measuring cups and knives, I did wonder whether Harris or her husband, Doug Emhoff, was in charge of the dishes — and if they could come help me clean up.

As for the end result? Pretty good, and not even by a razor-thin Georgia margin! Between the apples, onions and cornbread, it skews sweet (fine in my book). The spicy sausage provides the right balance to make it work. I’ll certainly be enjoying the leftovers Thursday.

I’m sure the future veep’s office is loaded with staffers in charge of every last policy detail, but Madame Vice President, if you’re ever in need of a recipe editor, I stand ready to serve our country.

Scale and get a printer-friendly, desktop version of the recipe here.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Two (8 1/2-ounce) packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage, such as hot Italian, casings removed
  • 2 medium white or yellow onions, diced
  • 2 medium apples, cored and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 pan with butter and line with parchment paper, greasing that as well, leaving enough overhang on the long sides to serve as a sling later.

Step 2

In a large bowl, whisk together the corn muffin mix, milk and eggs — the batter will be slightly lumpy. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack (keep the oven on) and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then lift the slab out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Finely crumble the cornbread into a very large bowl.

Step 3

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter.

Step 4

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula, until no longer pink, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl with the cornbread crumbs, leaving the fat behind in the skillet.

Step 5

Add the onions, apples and celery to the skillet, still over medium-high. Cook, stirring from time to time, until softened but still somewhat crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the cornbread crumbs and sausage. Add the broth, melted butter, parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary, and gently mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 6

Transfer the dressing to the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and crusty. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information

The nutritional analysis is based on 12 servings.

Calories: 380; Total Fat: 23 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Cholesterol: 76 mg; Sodium: 675 mg; Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 13 g; Protein: 9 g.

Adapted from a recipe from Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly, desktop version of the recipe here.

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