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November 16, 2022

Sausage Sage Stuffing

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Sausage Sage Stuffing

I’ve been using this stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember, and it has never let me down. It’s a breeze to prepare and a family favorite. Thanks to Ina Garten for sharing this recipe. This photo was taken before I baked the stuffing. I was just too busy in the kitchen to get an after-shot. You will see the top is golden brown after you bake it. Read the notes to see a few modifications and tips. 

Ingredients

Scale

16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2-pound loaf)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups of yellow onion diced (2 onions)

1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)

2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, and large-diced

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4-pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup dried cranberries or about 6 - 7 fresh sage leaves

Instructions

 1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

 2. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set aside the bread cubes in a very large bowl.

 3. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt, pepper, and optional sage. (See notes below.) Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.

 4. In the same sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.

 5. Add the chicken stock and cranberries (if using) to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.

Notes

The recipe calls for dried cranberries, but I don't add them because not everyone in my family likes cranberries. To satisfy cranberry lovers, I serve homemade orange cranberry relish. You'll never buy a can of cranberry relish again once you taste the difference between homemade and canned.

Adding about 6 - 7 fresh sage leaves to replace the cranberries adds a delicious layer of flavor.

How to remove casings for the sausage:

If you buy sausage links, you will need to remove the casings. To remove the casings, I squeeze the sausage in the middle and pinch until the sausage is divided into two parts. Then I pull the sausage out on one side. Once the sausage has been removed on one side, hold the casing, and pull the rest out on the other side. The casing can be slippery, so I use a paper towel to maintain a grip while I pull the sausage out of the casing.

Alternatively, you can use a knife to slice down the side of the sausage to open the casing and then remove the sausage.

Both methods work well. However, I find the first method quicker.

You might be able to find Italian ground sausage in bulk without the casings at your butcher counter. Ina suggests sweet or spicy Italian sausage. I use sweet Italian sausage. In my opinion, the flavor of the sweet sausage doesn't complete as much with the other ingredients.

The Bread:

For the bread, I buy loaves of sourdough Italian or French Country.

Leftovers:

Leftover turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie make a great school lunch. Warm the leftover turkey and stuffing and pack it in a thermos for school lunches.

A Thanksgiving meal requires a lot of chopping of onions, celery, and other vegetables. Chopping is time-consuming, so get your kids involved to create a memorable family activity and save you time. This child-safety knife is a must-have addition to your kitchen for your little cooks. 

Kids safe wooden handle crinkle cut knife on a cutting board with vegetables

 I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, without an exact recipe.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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