So, funny story: I’ve never really liked stuffing. Growing up, my mom (who also doesn’t like stuffing) would make a different kind of stuffing every year. When I got married 7 years ago and started hosting Thanksgiving at my house, I took over the tradition of making a different kind of stuffing every year.
I’ve been told the stuffings I make are good. And they do smell really great. I just don’t eat them. I think it’s a texture thing for me. But hey, to each his own, right? The rest of my family enjoys them, so I hope you do too.
This stuffing is a pretty traditional stuffing and very simple to make. Stuffings have a lot of steps involved, but they aren’t difficult.
For this one you need:
2 loaves French bread (or any hardy bread)
1 stick of butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallot
1 red apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, off the stem
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb sausage
handful of dried cranberries
The day before, cut up your bread into cubes and leave out to dry. They need to be really dry. If you forget to do this ahead of time, you can put them in the oven at 375 for about 10-15 minutes, then turn the oven off, but leave the bread in there for another 10-15 minutes. I like to stir them around after I turn off the oven.
You can use any hardy bread you want. I’ve even heard of people saving the ends of their loaves of bread throughout the year (because no one wants a sandwich made out of ends!) and freezing them until Thanksgiving. Truthfully? You could totally buy the boxed stuffing cubes and I doubt anyone would even notice.
In a skillet, melt 1/2 a stick of butter and add your celery, shallot, apple, pear, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until softened. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat.
While the fruit and veggies are sauteing, crumble and brown your sausage. I used just regular pork sausage, but you can use chicken sausage, hot italian sausage, sweet italian sausage, whatever floats your boat.
In the biggest bowl you have (hopefully you have something bigger than I do), add your onion/apple mix, cranberries, sausage, and 1 beaten egg. In batches to make it easier, add your bread cubes and mix in with the wet ingredients so it is all incorporated. I didn’t use all my bread because I thought it was enough. Just eyeball it.
After it’s all mixed up as much as you can, pour it into your baking dish. You can keep stirring it around here too, if you need. Cut up the other 1/2 of your butter into pieces and place sporadically over the top of the stuffing. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes covered, then another 15 uncovered.
TIP: I always make the stuffing at least the day before Thanksgiving. If you do that, you can just put in the fridge before baking it and then bake it the next day. You can also make it a bit further ahead of time and freeze it. If you do this, put in one of the disposable pans because when it freezes it will expand a bit from the liquid and you don’t want your baking dish to break. The day before Thanksgiving, move it to the fridge to thaw. Thanksgiving day, you can transfer it to your baking dish (or leave it in the disposable, if you want), top it with the butter and bake as per the instructions.
Since it isn’t the big day yet, I haven’t baked mine, but I did have my hubby do a taste test (before adding the egg!) and he said it was delicious.