2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds mild Italian pork sausage (bulk or slipped out of casings)
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound white button mushrooms, halved or quartered
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry sherry
1 (8-inch) pan cornbread, broken up
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
2 cups candied pecans
1. Brown: In a wide skillet set over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add sausage, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out sausage into a large bowl.
2. Soften: Reduce heat under skillet to medium. Melt in 1 tablespoon butter. Tumble in celery and onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Scrape into bowl with mushrooms.
3. Brown: Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil (use the same skillet or a separate one). Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms turn a lovely deep brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper; cook 30 seconds. Deglaze with sherry. Scrape into bowl.
4. Toss: Tumble cornbread into bowl. Toss well. Drizzle in broth, stopping when cornbread is moist, but not mushy.
5. Bake: Turn dressing into a buttered baking dish. Cover with foil. Slide into a 375-degree oven and bake until hot, 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until a little crisp on top, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in candied pecans.