Monday, December 14, 2009

Sausage-Cranberry Stuffing

Growing up I envied the kids on the Stove Top Stuffing commercials whose mom's would call them for dinner and serve up some Chicken and Stove Top (instead of plain, boring Chicken and Rice...remember??) on a random week night. I loved my Stove Top, and looked forward to eating it during our holiday meals.

I still love stuffing, and have (half-heartedly) been looking for a good scratch recipe for several years (Stove Top has MSG and other mystery ingredients--gasp!) About a week ago I got an update from one of my favorite blogs, Noble Pig. Apparently Cathy, too, has been on the stuffing prowl, and had finally produced a winner. Sausage, cranberries, lots of aromatics, and lots of eggs, 11 to be exact. The number of eggs seemed high to me, but there is also 16 cups of bread cubes, and her picture looked wonderful. She is a great cook, so I took the 11 eggs on faith. It was a good move.

I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand (even the bread to make 16 cups of bread cubes), so I made it for dinner a couple nights ago. Yes, for dinner. With the sausage, bread, and eggs, I figured it was almost like a savory bread pudding, right? So we had the stuffing and a nice green salad for dinner. I sort of got away with be a main course I think it needs another pound of sausage. Guess I'll have to try it again ;)

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons each of fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary. I used 1 tablespoon each dried since I didn't have fresh, and I wanted to make it now. The substitution worked pretty well; next time I might use a skosh more, maybe 4 teaspoons. I also want to try it with the fresh. The only other thing I might change next time is the amount of dried cranberries. They add a delightful tart-sweet counterpoint to the sausage and herbs, and we all agreed that I should put in more next time. Oh, and next time I'll let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so before transferring it to the baking pan to really let the bread cubes soak up the liquid.

Thanks for a great recipe, Cathy! This one is a keeper :)

Sausage-Cranberry Stuffing (adapted from Noble Pig)
Printable Recipe

16 cups fresh bread cubes, 1- 1 1/2-inch pieces (I used half white French, half wheat French)
1 lb Jimmy Dean 50% less fat sausage (her recipe calls for regular)
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon dried thyme (original recipe, 2 TBL fresh)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed (original recipe, 2 TBL fresh)
1 tablespoon dried sage (original recipe, 2 TBL fresh)
3 tablespoons butter (original recipe calls for 6, but I just couldn't)
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
11 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Heat your oven to 350. Spray a 9X13-inch glass baking pan with non-stick spray. Put the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they're crisp and dry, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up into small pieces (If you use regular sausage, drain most of the fat). Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook until until the onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add the dry herbs and cook another 3 minutes. Add the butter and cranberries and cook until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.

3. In a (very) large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes and sausage mixture. In a medium bowl whisk together the chicken broth and eggs until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the bread cubes and sausage mixture and gently toss well to coat the bread cubes evenly. Add the salt and pepper and mix gently. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir it gently one more time and transfer it to the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm.

Cathy adds that you can bake this the night before and then put it in the fridge once it's cooled. To reheat, bring it to room temperature and heat it in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm, that stuffing looks like classic comfort food:)


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