Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we’ve all planned our menus. Groceries are lining the counters and over-stuffing the refrigerator. Some of you are already performing culinary magic in the kitchen. It’s not like you need a stuffing recipe in order to prepare for this year’s turkey day. But I only make this savory sausage dish for holiday meals and I want to share it now so you can add it to your Christmas, or other religious holiday, celebration.
I’ve refined this recipe to feed my family of 17 and still have leftovers — give or take a few kids who probably have never tried it. But then there’s the sizeable appetites of the T Boys, my football and baseball-playing nephews, who request this every year. (Check out their favorite hot dog casserole.)
The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s pretty easy to customize. Just use the amounts of bread, sausage, and butter as the recipe calls for so it doesn’t get greasy or dried out. You could substitute some of the celery with mushrooms or a different vegetable, and add garlic, cashews, or cranberries. I’ve used all kinds of breads so pick your favorites and go with it. You don’t have to dry out the bread first for this stuffing.
You may have a larger stove top than I do, or bigger pans, but this batch of stuffing is so large that I need to use two large frying/sauté pans to cook the butter, celery, and onion mixture. You’ll need large pans because once you add the bread, you need room to stir everything together. Or you could split it into batches. You’ll want a very large bowl or pan to bake this in. I’ve used my KitchenAid® roaster and an aluminum roaster. I’ve also put it in a crockpot.
This stuffing can be assembled and refrigerated a day ahead and baked the day you need it. I actually think it’s better that way.
What kind of stuffing is a tradition at your family celebrations?
Staci's Sausage Stuffing
- 2 pounds bulk pork sausage, cooked, keeping a few tablespoons of the fat in the sausage
- 1 pound bulk Italian pork sausage, cooked, keeping a couple of tablespoons of the fat in the sausage
- 4-1/2 cups celery, washed and chopped
- 2-1/4 cups diced yellow onion
- 5-1/2 sticks butter
- 3 tablespoons bacon grease, optional
- 5 teaspoons dried sage leaves, or 6 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage leaves
- 3-4 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, or 3 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
- 4-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 24 cups of bread cubes (2 to 3 loaves of bread), I use at least two different varieties like white and wheat, wheat and rye, I've used pumpernickel and today I used white, wheat, and a small pan of cornbread
Heat oven to 325°.
Over medium heat, cook the celery and onion in the butter (add bacon grease if using), stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft. Stir in about 1/2 to 3/4 of the bread cubes. Keep on low heat while tossing together, getting as much of the bread coated with butter.
Transfer to a very large bowl or roasting pan. Add remaining bread cubes, seasonings, and the cooked sausage with fat. Toss to combine.
Transfer to roasting pan, cover and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
To use to stuff the turkey, stuff turkey just before roasting.