I came up with this recipe for an appearance on the Today Show, where they decided I was to become the short-term Queen of Recipes with Bread for a pre-Thanksgiving segment. Do also check out the Parmesan Croutons and Cornbread Stuffing I came up with during my brief reign.
You can certainly cook this stuffing (or dressing, if you hail from the South) in the turkey, should you be so inclined, but I rather love it in a pan, so that the top gets crispy and browned. Or do some of each, if your gang is divided.
The types of mushrooms you can use in this recipe are fairly limitless. Use the ones that appeal, the ones that are on sale, the ones that fit into your budget. You can absolutely use all inexpensive button mushrooms, but it is really great to mix in some of the fabulously delicious and chewy (but pricier) shiitakes, or other wild mushrooms. If you’re splurging (or if you have a friend in the mushroom or foraging world!) definitely go for all wild mushrooms.
The addition of turkey sausage into the stuffing makes it seriously flavorful. If you are looking to make this a vegetarian stuffing, leave it out, bump up the quantity of mushrooms to 1 ½ pounds, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken. And hey, if you have homemade turkey stock, go for it!
Also this is a truly make-ahead and portable dish. If you want to volunteer to bring something to a potluck Thanksgiving, claim stuffing as your dish. Bake it just before serving (this also means letting the host know you need some oven space. I’m a bit of a nag on this topic—have you ever had someone show up at your house with a dish that needed stovetop or oven time, and it wasn’t part of your grand master plan? Ugh, is the nicest thing I have to say about that).
Other Thanksgiving Recipes:
Bread Stuffing with Turkey Sausage
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ pound button mushrooms trimmed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
- Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 pound loose mild or spicy turkey sausage
- 10 cups cubed good quality white bread left to sit on a baking sheet for one day (see Note)
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a shallow 4-quart baking pan.
- In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, sage and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and sauté everything until the all of the liquid is evaporated (the mushrooms will release liquid as they start to cook), and the vegetables are all tender and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and sauté for another couple of minutes until it is almost evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl.
- In the same skillet brown the sausage over medium heat until browned and crumbly, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage to the vegetables and toss to combine. Add the bread cubes and toss again.
- Drizzle over 1 1/2 cups of the broth (feel free to also drizzle over up to ½ cup of turkey drippings if desired). Add the parsley and toss well so that the bread is evenly moistened. Add in the remaining ½ cup to 1 cup of the broth, depending on how much liquid the bread is absorbing, to the stuffing and toss again.
- Turn the mixture into the prepared baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes or so until the stuffing is cooked through and the top is browned and crispy.
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