I always considered myself a mashed potato person, but my sister loved Thanksgiving stuffing. It took me a few years, but I got there. Thanksgiving is my prefered holiday. I’ve mentioned this before, but a holiday based around food, friends and family is the perfect holiday to me.
Thanksgiving has no real rules when it comes to food. Simple or fancy, traditional or not, everything works. As a foodie and a chef, I love that. Thanksgiving brings together so many wonderful foods I love like Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and cranberries. On Thanksgiving I get to have so many of my favorites all together, without judgement.
Stuffing, like cranberry sauce, is often considered a required dish on the big day, but it comes with controversy. Every family has “their special stuffing recipe“. Geographically, depending on where you live, stuffing, dressing or filling, as it’s called, can have significant regional differences.
In New England, chestnuts are mixed into stuffing, in Boston, oysters. Down in the South, cornbread is commonly used giving the stuffing a sweeter backbone, while San Franciscans opt for sourdough bread for an added tanginess. My go to mushroom and sausage for a moister stuffing texture.
Although I still love potatoes (mashed with lots of butter and salt), I have come to love sausage stuffing just as much. I guess I can thank my big sister for that. To clarify, this recipe is not entirely my own, it is an adapted version of the stuffing my mom made when I was a kid. While I have made some slight changes, the aroma when I make it is almost exactly the same as my moms.
This mushroom-sausage stuffing recipe is straightforward and uncomplicated requiring no fancy or hard-to-find ingredients. To clarify, a little prep work is required, mainly chopping and sautéing the vegetables, but otherwise it’s straightforward, foolproof and best part, reliable. Cooked inside the cavity of the turkey (my preference) or in a separate baking dish, this mushroom-sausage stuffing holds up year-after-year and never disappoints.
Thanksgiving Mushroom-Sausage Stuffing
- 4-5 slices stale white bread, torn into small pieces
- 1 (14-ounce) package herb seasoned classic dried stuffing
- 1 (16-ounce) package pork sausage
- 6 teaspoons Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 stalks celery, small dice
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, small dice
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, stems removed, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Step 1 In a large mixing bowl add the bread pieces and stuffing mixture. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a large sauté pan, add 1 teaspoon of oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the sausage and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the bread mixture.
- Step 3 Place the pan back over medium heat and another teaspoon oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender and beginning to show coloration, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onions to the bread-mixture.
- Step 4 Place the pan back over medium heat. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the pan, when hot, add the celery and leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and leeks to the bread mixture.
- Step 5 Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. When hot, add the mushroom and cook, stirring only once, until you begin to see nice brown coloration. Add to the bread mixture.
- Step 6 Add the parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, onion powder and melted butter. Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste as needed.
- Step 7 The stuffing can be placed inside the cavity of the turkey or baked for 1 hour in a baking dish wrapped well with aluminum foil (to keep moisture in) inside a 350 F degree oven.
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