- 2 2/3 cups milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (10 ounces) cornmeal
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ pounds bulk pork sausage
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
- 6 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup half-in-half
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease and flour 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Whisk milk, oil, and eggs in bowl; set aside.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on lower-middle rack until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Cool in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Cut cornbread into 1-inch squares.
- Divide cornbread between 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake until dry, 50 and 60 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking.
- Cool cornbread completely on sheets about 30 minutes.
- Cook sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pan.
- Add onions, celery, and carrots and add 2 tablespoons of butter to fat in same pan.
- Add garlic, sage, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in broth, remove from heat, and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk half-and-half, eggs, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
- Slowly whisk in warm broth mixture until incorporated.
- Fold in dried cornbread and reserved sausage and let sit, tossing occasionally, until saturated, about 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Transfer soaked cornbread to prepared pan.
- Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and drizzle evenly over top.
- Bake on upper-middle rack until surface is golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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