POPSUGAR is bringing you an exclusive look at Thanksgiving recipes from famous lifestyle influencers. We’re excited to present the first online look at this Italian sausage stuffing recipe from our assistant Food editor, Erin Cullum.
Unpopular opinion: turkey is the least exciting part of a Thanksgiving table. For me, it’s all about the sides, and growing up in an Italian household with a large family, my mom’s Italian sausage stuffing recipe is what I look forward to eating most every year. Mild Italian sausage pairs perfectly with the earthy flavors of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage, and this savory side dish is a million times better than the boxed kind. I could eat multiple servings of this and homemade macaroni and cheese and be totally satisfied (that’s the Italian carb-lover in me).
Any time you’re making homemade stuffing, it’s important to have day-old bread so that it’s slightly dried out. I recommend buying a fresh loaf of bread the day before you plan to make the stuffing, but if you didn’t plan ahead, you can dry out bread in the oven for the same result. Another shortcut that makes this recipe easier is using an oven-safe skillet to cook and bake the stuffing in. Then it’s truly a one-pot dish, and it’ll save you a little stress when it comes time to wash your sky-high pile of dirty Thanksgiving dishes. Do as the Italians do – at least, in my family – and try this side dish that everyone will devour.
1 day-old loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, or oven-dried-out bread if you don’t have day-old
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
6 links mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large white onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary, finely chopped
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place cubed bread in a bowl and set aside.
- Place 2 1/2 cups chicken stock in a small saucepan on a back burner over medium low heat, keeping warm.
- Heat a large nonstick (oven-safe, if possible) skillet over medium heat and add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spatula, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour out all but about 1/2 tablespoon of excess fat.
- Add olive oil, butter, onion, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
- Turn off heat and add sausage back into the skillet, and add the bread and herbs, stirring carefully to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the warm stock at a time, stirring to incorporate each time, until absorbed by the bread. Season with salt and pepper.
- If your skillet is oven-safe, place directly into oven. Alternatively, transfer stuffing to a large baking dish. Bake until stuffing is slightly browned and crispy on top but not entirely dry, 25-30 minutes. Top with fresh parsley, if using. Serve warm and topped with turkey gravy, if desired.
- Side Dishes, Stuffing/dressing
- 6 servings