I’m probably committing a culinary sin by saying this, but Thanksgiving dinner really isn’t that difficult. Time consuming, yes. Impressive on the table, sure. But dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing are actually super easy.
My favorite stuffing recipe—with sausage, bread and sage—epitomizes the way I like to cook. You don’t need a lot of measuring or exact proportions. You just add ingredients until you’re happy with how it looks and tastes.
Here’s how I make Thanksgiving stuffing. Give it a try next week, and add your own twist!
- Dry/stale bread. Tear up artisanal breads and leave them out overnight, or toast a loaf of plain white bread in the oven.
- A bag of store-bought stuffing mix. I know it feels like cheating, but you’re just using this for extra seasoning and more bread variety.
- A pound of country sausage. The kind that crumbles when you brown it.
- Celery, chopped into small pieces. How many stalks? I don’t know. How much do you like celery?
- An onion, also chopped into small pieces. Or half an onion. No big whoop.
- Butter or oil for sauteeing.
- Chicken or turkey stock. Buy a couple of cans/boxes or make your own. How? Purchase extra turkey wings and bake until brown and crisp. Transfer to a stock pot and cover with water, adding onion and seasonings such as sage, salt and thyme. Simmer a couple of hours, then strain. Voila! Delicious turkey broth!
- Turkey giblets, if you like. My mom used to sautee the liver, etc. and add those to the mix.
- Sage, thyme, salt, pepper, etc. Fresh or dried, it doesn’t matter.
- Whatever else you want. Raisins. Dried cranberries. Sauteed mushrooms. Nuts. Bacon. Get creative!
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
- Brown sausage and giblets, if using.
- Sautee onion and celery until tender.
- Tear bread into small chunks or cut into squares. Put into a large bowl with the store-bought mix.
- Add browned sausage, onion and celery to the bread and stir to combine.
- Pour chicken or turkey stock over everything, stirring to moisten. Use a bit less if you like your stuffing more dry.
- Season to taste. Seriously, don’t be afraid to taste as you go!
- Add raisins, mushrooms, nuts… whatever extras you’d like.
- Stuff turkey with half of the mixture. Put the other half into a greased casserole dish and bake until top is brown and crispy.