I'm making a new tradition this year. I have to admit that every other year that I've made stuffing, it came from a bag of seasoned stuffing mix. While it comes out tasting pretty good, it was time to try something a little different and move up to great. The result is a Thanksgiving stuffing that will be on the table every year from now on.
For meat eaters, it's pretty obvious that sausage makes everything better, and adding it to the stuffing is pretty amazing. The pork sausage in this recipe adds complexity to the flavor and texture without being overbearing. I've always been a big fan of having apples and raisins in the stuffing, which can add some sweetness and acidity for balance. The rustic sourdough bread is a perfect pairing to go with the sweetness of the fruit.
The thyme and sage are Thanksgiving staples, and the fresh sage is a revelation. The celery adds a little crunch. Together, the whole package adds up to a stuffing that, with a little effort, upgrades your feast from familiar to fantastic.
The prep is not difficult, and if your day is too busy, you can prep this dish the day before and bake it with the turkey. You can even complete it beforehand and just reheat when the time is right.
Start by drying cubes of sourdough in the oven. While that's happening, sauté the sausage. Then sauté the onions, celery and apples; add the sausage back in, and add the wine, stock and raisins, and season. Mix it all up and then bake in a greased dish. While it's definitely not as easy as opening a box of Stove Top, the return on your investment is worth it.
- ½ lb. loaf of rustic sourdough bread
- 1 lb. pork sausage (removed from casings)
- 5 tablespoon butter (divided)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 3 celery stalks (cut into ¼" dice)
- 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- Slice the sourdough loaf into 1” slices, then hand tear into bite-size pieces.
- Place the bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then dry in the oven for about 20 minutes, until it starts to get crunchy on the outside.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350° F.
- In a large skillet with a little oil, sauté the sausage over medium heat until it is cooked through.
- Remove the sausage from skillet and add 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté the onions, celery, apples and a pinch of salt until they are soft.
- Add the white wine, chicken stock, raisins and sausage back to the pan, plus the thyme and sage. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Transfer to a large bowl with the bread cubes and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and mix well.
- Place the stuffing in a greased 8x8" baking dish.
- Bake the stuffing uncovered for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it is golden on top.