How To Make The Best Thanksgiving Sage Sausage and Apple Stuffing
The Best Sage Sausage and Apple Stuffing For Thanksgiving
Although this is a "stuffing" recipe, I don not recommend actually cooking inside a turkey. If you read about how to cook a turkey in my hub about The Perfect Roast Turkey, then you know that stuffing a brined turkey is never a good idea!
But even if you don't brine your turkey before cooking it, adding stuffing to the cavity of the bird just makes the turkey take longer to cook. Not only that, but it sucks up all those delicious juices from the bird and makes the final result drier than it should be. Plus there's always the risk of salmonella - by the time the stuffing is thoroughly cooked all the way through, the turkey meat will be over cooked. And if you don't worry about cooking the stuffing all the way through, any salmonella bacteria that might have been present in the turkey will still be in the stuffing!
So in short, don't
waste your time cooking the "stuffing" inside the turkey! This stuffing
recipe is so moist already that there is no need to take juices away
from the bird to ensure a moist stuffing. It makes a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner menu!
For a tasty alternative, why not try using Zucchini Bread, instead? Make this before hand and dry it in the oven just like in the standard recipe.
See the Zucchini Bread recipe at the end of this hub...
I like to use Un-Sliced Bread to make my own bread cubes for stuffing, but if you decide to go with pre-made bread cubes, look for ones that are about 1-inch across. Also be aware that if the bread cubes are pre-seasoned you may want to lessen the amount of seasoning used in this recipe.
- Jelly Roll Pans or Other Baking Sheets
- 12 inch Non-Stick Skillet
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Large Casserole Dish (3 to 4 Quarts)
- Cooking Spray
- Salt and Pepper
- 16 Loaf Unsliced Bread
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 pound Sage Sausage
- 1 Medium Onion, coarsely diced
- 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and diced in large pieces
- 1 Golden Delicious or Fiji Apple, peeled, cored and diced in large pieces
- 3 Ribs Celery, diced in large pieces
- 3 cups Chicken Stock or Homemade Vegetable Stock, or a mixture of the two
- 1/2 cup Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
A day or two in advance
- A day or two before the big meal, slice the Bread into large cubes, about 1-inch square.
- Turn the oven to low, about 150 degrees.
- Arrange the Bread Cubes into a single layer on a jelly roll pan or other baking sheet - you will probably need several sheets to accommodate all the Bread Cubes.
- Spray the Cubes with Cooking Spray and season with Salt and Pepper.
- Place the Cubes in the oven and let them cook until dry and crispy - about an hour.
- Remove the Bread Cubes from the oven and let cool completely.
- Store the cooled Bread Cubes in the casserole dish and let them sit, uncovered, until the day of the big meal.
On the day
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the Bread Cubes into a large mixing bowl.
- Remove the Sage Sausage from its casing and break it into small chunks.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of Butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over Medium-High heat.
- Add the Sausage to the skillet and cook just until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add the Sausage and its drippings to the Bread Cubes and gently toss.
- Add the remaining Butter to the hot skillet.
- Once melted, add the Onion, Apples, Celery and a dash of Salt to the skillet over Medium-High heat.
- Cook about 5 minutes until the vegetables get soft.
- Add the Stock and Parsley and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Pour the vegetable mixture over the Bread and Sausage mixture.
- Add the Walnuts if you're using them and toss until everything is evenly moistened.
- Spray the casserole with Cooking Spray and loosely pack the Stuffing in the dish.
- Cook uncovered about 45 minutes until a nice crust begins to form.
- Drizzle a few tablespoons of Turkey Drippings or Melted Butter over the top and return to the oven.
- Cook another 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and crusty.
I like to do all of the vegetable peeling and cutting the night before to save time on the Big Day! Just place everything in a zip-top bag in the fridge.
If you'll be following my recipe for The Perfect Roast Turkey, you can put the Stuffing in the oven during the last half-hour of cooking the Turkey. While the Turkey is resting, the Stuffing will be finishing up in the oven and both will be ready at the same time!
Gotta Have Gravy!
It just isn't a great holiday meal without some delicious Turkey Giblet Gravy!
Mashed Potatoes, Anyone?
Why not add another great side dish to the Thanksgiving dinner menu with some Delicious Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour the loaf pans.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the Flour, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the Eggs until fluffy. Mix in the Oil, Applesauce and Brown Sugar.
- Stir in the grated Zucchini, Walnuts and Vanilla Extract.
- Add the Flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl and stir to incorporate.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
- Bake for 60 minutes. The Bread is done when a toothpick or sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Zucchini Bread Recipe
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- 2 8x4 inch Loaf Pans
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Zucchinis, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract