When people hear the word “Thanksgiving”, many think slaving over the stove for hours or days. I wanted to give you all a simple recipe that could enhance a well known side dish by making …
When people hear the word “Thanksgiving”, many think slaving over the stove for hours or days. I wanted to give you all a simple recipe that could enhance a well known side dish by making a few simple changes. Everyone is looking for simple dishes that don’t compromise on flavor, and that’s exactly what my sausage stuffing does. Adding sautéed veggies and sausage brings this side dish to life and if you’re used to boxed Stove Top, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Since they’ve been married, my parents have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 30+ years for our extended family, so we know all about cooking for a large crowd. Since us kiddos have gotten older, we’ve grown into the roles of re-creating our favorite side dishes to help out. My sister makes the green bean casserole, Fred’s on the smoked turkey, Andrew’s on the wonderful role of shining china, and I have the duties of making grandma Shirley’s pumpkin pie and my famous sausage stuffing. It really isn’t all that “famous” but we have been so used to boxed “Stove Top”, that when I decided to kick it up a notch and make stuffing from scratch, it was quite like calling it gourmet.
To make a sausage stuffing that will trick your guests into thinking you’ve slaved all day, you will need:
- 1 package Jimmy Dean sage stuffing
- one yellow onion minced (typically, you can find the mirepoix at Shoprite pre chopped!)
- 4 stalks of celery finely sliced into half moons
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp fennel
- a package of cubed bread (Pepperage Farm is my favorite!!)
- 4 tablespoons of butter (or more!!)
- 2 3/4 cup of chicken stock (homemade is always best!)
and salt and pepper.
To start, brown your sage sausage in a skillet. To the sausage I add my thyme and crushed fennel seed. Adding all your fresh or dried herbs gives a really good base to this dish and builds flavor. I highly recommend Jimmy Dean sausage, but feel free to use your favorite local brand. Once your sausage is completely browned, drain the fat and set aside. Next, place about two tablespoons of butter into a skillet along with a heavy sprinkle of salt and add your minced onion and celery. Don’t forget to scrape up all the browned bits from the sausage. The salt is going to draw out all the liquid from your onion and help them to become nice and tender. You do not want to brown them, you simply want to make it so the vegetables are translucent (clear).
“Sweat” your onion and celery and set that aside as well. Next, in a large bowl, combine your sausage, bread cubes, onion/celery mixture, and chicken stock. The stock is going to become soaked up by the bread and gives additional flavor. Bake the stuffing for one hour uncovered in a 350 degree oven. If you like your stuffing more on the moist side, cook your stuffing covered and add more stock.
This is a very versatile dish. I love eating this stuffing not just on Thanksgiving, but with a nice pork chop and beans. Typically, I will make two trays. One with sausage and one without sausage for the vegetarians in the bunch. P.S. It tastes even better the next day! I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. Be well.
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