Let’s be honest. When I think of Thanksgiving I can’t help but think of food. In fact, my stomach is growling already. I love thanksgiving dinner! The family is together finally (men watching football, ladies in the kitchen), the turkey smells so good, I don’t even know what I should dig into first. The turkey or the mashed potatoes? The sweet potatoes (I like mine baked with cinnamon butter on top) or the cranberry sauce? No, wait! My absolute favorite thing is the stuffing. I make it all from scratch and it is so good! In fact it is like a whole dinner in one dish.
I do not buy the bagged stuffing mix but rather make my own. I get a couple of loaves of Italian bread (or one big one), try to get the kind that doesn’t have very hard crust. If they do, I trim off the crust. Next I cut the bread into very small cubes. I set the oven to low temperature and toast them a little bit so they get somewhat crunchy. Tada! Home made croutons. There’s no need to season them now because I do that later. So let’s get to the recipe! I usually just improvise but this recipe I found on Food Network is a very good recipe to start with. I made a few alterations according to my taste.
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh (or slightly less dried) chopped sage
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups croutons
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 cups chicken stock, plus extra as needed
2 tablespoons fresh (or slightly less dried) chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
You can omit the pecans if you are concerned about food allergies and I also like to add chopped baby bella mushrooms.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling sausage with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Discard sausage fat in pan. Add butter, onions, mushrooms, and celery to skillet and saute until tender, about 10 to15 minutes. Add to sausage, along with herbs and croutons, mix to combine.
In a medium bowl, mix allspice, maple syrup, cranberries, pecans, and chicken stock. Add to crouton mixture. The mixture should be moist, but not soggy. You can always add more chicken broth if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer stuffing to a lightly buttered (or sprayed) baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.
Don’t forget to stuff the inside of the turkey as well, it makes a huge difference in the taste of your turkey. I also like to put an apple inside the bird; this used to be my mom’s special touch.
And that’s it! I guarantee you, everyone will love your stuffing and ask you for the recipe. Be sure to tell them you found it on our Clue Blog!