I love stuffing, but the classic poultry side dish can be a
tricky one. It’s not that the dish
itself is inherently difficult to prepare or serve, it’s that people’s tastes
vary so wildly – some like sausage in there…some prefer without; some like
sweet with the savory…some are repulsed by the notion of apples or cranberries or
raisins; some like it dry…others like it soaked with juices and covered in
gravy. I won’t tell anybody that they’re
wrong. I’ll just offer up this recipe as
my favorite. My mom always made it and
it’s always been my preference. As with
any recipe, you can play around with it and make it your own:
1 lb ground pork sausage
¾ C butter (or margarine, but BOO margarine)
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (about ½ C)
9 C soft bread cubes
1 ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp ground pepper
- Brown sausage and set aside, leaving the drippings in pan.
- Melt butter in pan and add celery and onion. Cook until tender (5-7 minutes)
- Add meat back in and toss bread cubes and remaining ingredients until coated.
- Stuff the bird or bake separately in a 13x9 pan at 350 degrees, covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 15
Here’s where you can really play around with this recipe.
- First of all, you can drain most, if not all of the pork drippings to make it a little easier on the waistline. Or, I use about 1/3 of the drippings and cut the butter in half. You don’t need all of that, and you will not notice a difference, save in how you feel later that night! :)
- The sausage also includes many of the additional ingredients. For example, buy a sage sausage and you don’t have to worry about it. Use an Italian seasoned sausage and you can forego the others as well. I go with a standard pork sausage and then use about 1 tsp of dried Italian seasoning. It’s got you covered. And as far as salt goes, save the salt…there’s plenty in the sausage.
- I love onion, so I always add a little more.
- The bread you use makes a big difference. Use whatever kind you prefer, or just white for a “classic” stuffing. A good wheat bread adds some body and nice texture.
- Then there’s the baking. The best part about this recipe is that you don’t have to bake it at all. As soon as you toss it, it’s ready to eat. If you’d prefer to bake it, it takes on a little different life, as you would imagine, but it’s safe and delicious to just go from pan to plate. That’s where the preference comes in – go with whatever you and your guests prefer.
Tease Image: Author Alexa via Wikimedia Commons