sage sausage and cranberry stuffing
I freaking love Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving so much that I usually do an entire Thanksgiving dinner in July because eating all that goodness only once a year seems completely ridiculous. So in preparation for the big day, I’d say my second favorite eating day – second only to Ribfest of course, I like to make some side dishes ahead of time to decide what makes the final cut for game day. This stuffing recipe, tweaked just a tad from Queen Ina, is the one I just keep coming back to. It’s super savory with a kick of sweet from the cranberries and is just the very best doused in homemade gravy…I’m drooling. Only 11 days until the big day, I can’t wait!
16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, 1/2 white and 1/2 sour dough
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb sage sausage (Jimmy Dean makes this)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup dried cranberries
Now usually I don’t doubt Queen Ina, but in her recipe she says to place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes at 300 degrees, so that the moisture comes out of the bread. I’ve made it both with and without the pre-baking of the bread and I’ve got to say I like the stuffing a little softer so I usually omit the pre-bake – totally your call.
Alright onto the to-do’s. First preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the cut up bread pieces in a big bowl.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter – and yes that is ONE WHOLE STICK.
Add the onions, celery, parsley, salt and pepper.
Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened then add to the bread cubes.
Next, in the same saute 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 then add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries 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.