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sage stuffing/dressing


This is a gourmet take on my grandmother’s traditional sage stuffing. She did not add the apples, sausage, pecans, or cranberries. It took her son, my dad, a couple of years to get used to my version, but now I think even he would miss those yummy additions – although he probably won’t admit it! The picture above is all the components, prepared and ready to put together before stuffing the bird (excluding the pumpkins, of course, those are for decoration!). The dominating flavor is still the sage, so be sure not to skimp on that. And remember to tear and dry out the bread at least 24 hours ahead of time.

Grandma Otter’s Thanksgiving Sage Stuffing

1  1/2 pounds challah and/or brioche, stale or day-old, torn into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery, with leaves
1 large or 2 small chopped Granny Smith apples
1 heaping tablespoon ground or rubbed sage
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 to 4 cups chicken or turkey stock

Place the torn bread pieces on baking sheets at least 24 hours before making the dressing, to completely dry out. (May be done up to a week in advance, store in a sealed bag or container at room temperature.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch ovenproof baking dish.

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt the butter until it is foamy.  Add the onions, celery, and apples and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, poultry seasoning, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes, and remove from heat. (May be done 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate. Reheat before proceeding).

Pour into a very large bowl or pot and stir in the bread, cooked sausage, pecans, and cranberries.  Add enough of the stock to moisten the mixture.  Toss thoroughly. (Dressing may be completely assembled one day ahead, covered, and refrigerated, but do not stuff the bird until immediately before placing the turkey in the oven to roast).

Stuff turkey with mixture, place remaining dressing into the prepared dish, and cover with foil.  Bake dressing for 25 minutes, uncover, and bake an additional 10 minutes, adding more stock if needed to keep the dressing moist.

Serves 8 -10

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