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This Sausage Stuffing is the ultimate comfort food, combining the heartiness of pork sausage with the subtle sweetness of craisins and the freshness of sage and parsley. It’s a mouthwatering medley that transforms your ordinary stuffing into a show-stopping side dish, perfect for any gathering.
The Best Sausage Stuffing
If you’re still up for more Thanksgiving recipes, check out this sausage stuffing that might just change your mind. I used to skip stuffing in favor of turkey and mashed potatoes, but I’ve found that with the right ingredients, like herb sausages, crispy crusty bread, and eggs, it can be deliciously similar to a savory bread pudding.
Why You’ll Love This Sausage Stuffing
- Prep-Ahead Convenience: You can cube and dry the bread and cook the sausage mixture in advance, making the final assembly and baking a breeze.
- Easy and Straightforward: With simple, clear instructions and common ingredients, this recipe is incredibly easy to follow, even for novice cooks.
- Versatile for Any Meal: The recipe is highly adaptable, allowing you to swap in different types of bread, sausages, or add-ins according to your preference or what you have on hand.
- Bread (preferably French baguette): Forms the base of the stuffing, providing structure and absorbing flavors. A crusty loaf works best for texture. You can substitute with sourdough or any hearty bread for a different twist.
- Butter: Adds richness and helps in sautéing.
- Pork Sausage (casings removed): The main flavor component, offering a savory, meaty taste. You can substitute with turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter version, or a vegetarian sausage for a meat-free option.
- Onion and Celery: These aromatics add depth and a subtle crunch. If onions aren’t your thing, try shallots or leeks for a milder flavor.
- Fresh Sage and Parsley: Herbs that give the stuffing a fragrant, earthy note. Dried herbs can be used in a pinch, though fresh is preferred for better flavor.
- Craisins (Dried Cranberries): Bring a hint of sweetness and tartness. Raisins or dried cherries are great alternatives.
- Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and add moisture. For an egg-free version, a flaxseed or chia seed mixture can be a substitute.
- Garlic: Garlic powder can be used if fresh isn’t available.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth: Keeps the stuffing moist. Vegetable broth is a good substitute for a vegetarian option.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Seasoning to enhance all the flavors. Adjust according to taste.
To whip up this scrumptious sausage stuffing, start by drying cubed bread in the oven until it’s crispy – this forms the perfect base.
While the bread is drying, cook crumbled sausage in a skillet until it’s no longer pink, adding chopped onions, celery, and garlic to soften and infuse the meat with aromatic flavors.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, parsley, and chicken broth, creating a rich, binding mixture. Once the sausage is cooked and the bread is dried, combine them in a large bowl, gently folding in the egg mixture to ensure every piece is coated.
Transfer this mixture into a greased baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until the stuffing sets. For a crispy finish, remove the foil towards the end of baking. Let it cool slightly, garnish with parsley, and serve this hearty, flavor-packed stuffing that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this stuffing ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely! You can prepare the stuffing a day in advance. Just keep the bread and sausage mixture separate from the wet ingredients until you’re ready to bake. Store them in the fridge, and when it’s time, combine everything and bake as directed.
What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?
The main difference lies in how they’re cooked. Stuffing is traditionally cooked inside the cavity of the turkey, absorbing the juices and flavors from the bird, while dressing is baked separately in a dish. The terms are often used interchangeably, especially in different regions, but the preparation method is the key distinction.
Can this stuffing be cooked inside a turkey?
Yes, you can use this recipe as a stuffing for your turkey. However, ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F for safety reasons. Remember, cooking it inside the turkey may extend your bird’s cooking time.
How can I make the stuffing more moist?
If you prefer a moister stuffing, you can increase the amount of broth. Adding it gradually until you reach your desired consistency is key. The bread should be moist but not overly soggy.
- Use Day-Old Bread: For the best texture, use bread that’s a day old or dry it in the oven as directed. Fresh bread can become too soggy when mixed with the broth and egg mixture.
- Brown the Sausage Well: Take the time to brown the sausage thoroughly in the skillet. This not only ensures it’s fully cooked but also develops deeper flavors.
- Customize with Herbs and Spices: Don’t hesitate to adjust the herbs and spices to match your taste preferences. Adding a pinch of thyme, rosemary, or even smoked paprika can create a unique flavor profile that complements the main ingredients.
- Check for Moisture During Baking: If the stuffing looks too dry during baking, you can add a bit more broth. Keep an eye on it, especially after removing the foil, to achieve that perfect moist-but-not-soggy consistency.
- Let it Rest Before Serving: Allow the stuffing to rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This resting period lets the flavors meld together and makes the stuffing easier to serve, as it sets slightly during this time.
Leftover stuffing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply warm it in the oven or microwave. If you find the stuffing a bit dry after refrigeration, just add a splash of broth before reheating to moisten it.
This stuffing freezes well. Bake it as directed, let it cool, then freeze it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It can be stored for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven.
More Delicious Thanksgiving Sides
- Port Infused Nut Stuffing
- Corn Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Green Beans
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Easy Stuffing Recipe
- No-Drippings Gravy
- Cornbread Stuffing
- 1 loaf bread (cut into cubes, I used a French baguette)
- 4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 1 pound pork sausage (casings removed)
- 1 onion (chopped (white or red))
- 2 stalks celery (chopped)
- ¼ cup sage (fresh, chopped)
- ½ cup craisins
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup parsley (fresh, chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¾ cup chicken broth (low sodium)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 275°. Spread bread cubes evenly over a baking sheet. Bake about 45 minutes or until bread is completely dried.
- Increase oven temperature to 350℉. Spray a 9×13" baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add sausage and break with a wooden spoon or potato masher, into fine pieces. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
- Add onion, celery, garlic, sage and craisins; cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl whisk eggs, parsley, garlic and broth. Season egg mixture with salt and pepper. Add the sausage mixture to the eggs and gently fold in the bread cubes until evenly mixed.
- Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until golden brown and the top is crispy, for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Garnish with parsley and serve.
- I strongly recommend using a spicy Italian sausage with herbs if you can find because it really does give the dressing a nice flavor, but if you cannot find any or do not like spicy food, choose a garlic and herb sausage.
- Note that I did not use a lot of salt and pepper because I find that the sausage is salty enough for my taste and it’s really flavorful, but feel free to add as much as you want.
- Use a good quality loaf of bread like a French baguette. The bread is even better if it’s a day old. When you toast the bread it should be nice and crispy so that when it’s mixed in with the egg mixture it doesn’t become soggy.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days and frozen for up to 3 months.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Originally published Nov 2014.