1 pound sausage with sage (or uncooked breakfast sausage), without casings
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more to garnish
3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage
2 tablespoons dried thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
About 3 cups chicken stock
Fresh sage leaves, to top
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300°F. Cut the cornbread into cubes (tearing some apart with your fingers to create different textures) and divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Toast, flipping halfway through, until dried and golden, about 45 minutes.
Increase temperature to 350°F. Lightly butter a 13 x 9” baking dish and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans, stirring occasionally until fragrant and browned, about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl. Set aside. Fry the bacon in the same skillet until crisp, then transfer to a separate bowl for later. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Fry the sausage in the same pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon until crisp, crumbled, and cooked through. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon, leaving the grease in the skillet.
Saute the onions in the grease for 2 minutes, then add in the celery and continue until onion is fully softened.
Mix the bacon, sausage, onion, celery, pecans, and herbs with the dried cornbread in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and mix. Taste and adjust herbs as desired.
Add chicken stock, a half cup at a time until perfectly moist without any liquid pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with a few leaves of fresh sage. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake until the surface is deeply browned, about 25-35 more minutes. Top with additional chopped parsley and sage to garnish, and serve warm.