Slow Cook:2 hrs to 3 hrs (low) + 25 to 30 minutes (high)
Sausage Gravy and Dumplings
In a very large skillet cook sausage, onions, and garlic over medium-high heat until sausage is brown and onions are tender, using a wooden spoon to break up sausage as it cooks. Do not drain. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour over sausage mixture; stir flour into the sausage mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually add the 3 cups milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in fennel seeds, sage, and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours.
For dumplings, turn slow cooker to high-heat setting. In a medium bowl combine the 3/4 cup flour, the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl combine whisk together egg, the 1/3 cup milk, and the butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until moistened. Using two spoons, drop dough directly on top of sausage mixture in cooker, making a total of eight mounds.
Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover during cooking.) If desired, sprinkle dumplings with parsley.