This is the stuffing I traditionally make for our Christmas Eve dinner. This year, I finally took the time to measure the proportions rather than just plough ahead and make it by instinct, as is my wont. Its longevity on the family favourites list is likely due to a couple of things: the breadcrumbs are freshly made (a tedious, but important step)) and the generous amounts of fresh sage and Italian sausage, which makes it very tasty.
- 12 c breadcrumbs, freshly prepared (one full loaf of white country loaf or sandwich bread)
- 2 large onions, diced (about 2 c)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 lbs mild Italian sausage
- 3 ribs celery, diced (about 1.5 c)
- 2 Granny Smith apples, diced (about 2 c)
- 3 c fresh cranberries (frozen if you can’t get fresh)
- 1/2 c chopped fresh sage
- kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F convection bake (or 325 degrees F without convection). Shred the slices of bread by hand into very small pieces (1/4 inch) and spread them out onto two large rimmed baking trays. (This takes a while, so be patient.) Bake until lightly browned and dry, but still tender, turning them several times during the process to ensure even drying (about 20 minutes in total). Let them cool on the baking sheets while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet until foamy. Sauté the onion until transluscent (about 3 minutes).
- Put the breadcrumbs into a very large bowl and add the sautéed onions.
- In the same skillet you used for the onions, thoroughly brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking up any lumps (about 15 minutes). Place the cooked sausage in a colander to drain the fat, then add the drained sausage to the bread & onion mixture and stir until completely combined.
- Add the celery, apples, cranberries and sage and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate until ready to bake for the holiday meal (it will keep a couple of days in the fridge).
- Bake in the oven in a covered casserole dish for one hour at 350 degrees F. Stir it a couple times during the baking process to ensure it heats evenly.
- As there is so much going on with the holiday meal itself, I tend to prepare the stuffing ahead of time and freeze it.
- There is a lot of debate about whether to stuff a turkey or cook the stuffing separately. I’ve done it both ways and now go the bake separately route. It’s far less messy, the stuffing is plenty flavourful and moist enough on its own, and there is no danger of bacterial contamination. Seems like a win-win to me.
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 60
- Serving Size: 12
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.