My friend Nicole was recently giving me my monthly haircut and we got to chatting about Thanksgiving. She mentioned that no one in her family was good at making stuffing, which was surprising to me because stuffing might just be the easiest, most delicious part of a Thanksgiving spread. Because I am such a generous soul, I offered to send her my recipe for stuffing, which I basically stole from Mark Bittman. Ok, ok, maybe not stole, but definitely adapted.
Granted, Thanksgiving is past at this point, but Christmas is coming up and stuffing is just as good then as it is any other time. Make it during the summer time, too! It’s good!
So, in the interest of bragging about my selfless, generous nature, here is my recipe. Feel free to follow it or change it or do whatever. It’s your life.
Sausage & Sage Stuffing
1.5 lb sausage, herby Italian, not spicy
2 loaves of bread, I like sourdough
Butter, 1 stick, unsalted
Yellow onion, 1 medium
Celery, to match the onion
Fresh sage, half cup
Fresh thyme, quarter cup
Fresh flat leaf parsley, maybe half a cup?
Chicken stock, unsalted, for wetness
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1) Slice and toast the bread. Allow it to cool. If you’re really nuts, I like to toast the bread on the grill. I think it give the toast better flavor and better color to the stuffing in the end. You might need to scrape off some more burnt bits, but sometimes you have to suffer for your art.
Pulse the toasted bread slices in a food processor until both loaves are broken up decently. I like a mix of medium and small chunks. Save the toast powder this creates.
2) If you could only get sausage links, pull the meat out of the casing. If it’s loose, you’re set to go. In a dutch oven, cook the sausage until it’s done. Break it up into crumbles while cooking. Remove it from the dutch oven.
Dice your onion and celery. You want approximately equal portions of each. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the dutch oven. Sauté the onion and celery in the dutch oven until soft. Salt and pepper. Add the sausage back with its accumulated juice. Stir in the sage, thyme, and parsley.
3) Next add the bread crumbs and dust. I find it’s easiest to do this in two passes. Stir the it all up in the dutch oven.
Add the chicken stock. Again, I like to do this in steps. Add some, mix it in, add some more, mix it in. That way you know when to stop. The right amount of liquid yields soft toast crumbs, but is not soupy. Better to be sparing on the liquid as you can always add more later, but you can’t get rid of it. You’re just going to need to suss out this volume yourself.
4) Bring the stuffing up to temp over medium heat for a couple minutes. Just until it’s hot. Now taste it. It should probably not be salty enough, so add more salt, but be sparing as it concentrates a little before serving. If it’s lightly salty, to your preference, then it’s good.
Transfer to a crock pot set to Warm until you are ready to serve. I like to put another two one-tablespoon pats of butter on top of the stuffing when I put it in the dutch oven. It will slowly melt and butter is good, so fuck it why not.
Yields 6 to 7 quarts. So much.