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Sausage Cranberry Stuffing

It’s bready, but it’s far from boring.

Now, I know stuffing (or dressing, if it’s not inside a bird and you’re a stickler for semantics) is not something that usually steals the show at the holiday table, but today, that all changes. I give you, Sausage Cranberry Stuffing. A side dish that really could be a meal in its own right, it’s full of crusty bread that’s soaked up plenty of savory flavor, sure, but it’s also studded with tart dried cranberries, salty Italian sausage, sweet apples, aromatic veggies, and plenty of fresh herbs. Make this and no one is going to go home talking about the turkey.

As with any stuffing, it helps to start with bread that’s been dried out a bit so it stands up to the broth and baking and doesn’t turn to mush. You can accomplish this by starting with a heartier loaf of bread and cubing it up a day or two ahead of time but you can also cheat a bit and dry it out in a low oven if you’re pressed for time. This is a great place for a crusty sourdough, but something more whole-grain goes well with the apples and cranberries too. Really, when it comes to bread choice here, the world is your oyster.

Once your bread is sufficiently crusty and you’re ready to start cooking, you’ll start by browning up some bulk Italian sausage and then adding some onion and celery to soften. Apples, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage head into the skillet too and as you can imagine, that mixture gives off a pretty tantalizing aroma. The dried cranberries go in with the broth and you want to add just enough liquid to moisten the bread but not make it soggy. The goal is really to tie everything together and have a crispy top and a moist center once the stuffing emerges from the oven.

What else can I say about this Sausage Cranberry Stuffing? It’s bready, but not boring, and the tartness in the cranberries balances the sweetness of the apples while there’s so much savory flavor going on in the background. With this on your table, stuffing is no longer just an accouterment, a supporting player… it’s a star.

Serves 8

15m prep time

40m cook time

4.2
Rated 4.2 out of 5
Rated by 6 reviewers

Allergens: Eggs, Gluten

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 1 large apple, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. Cube bread and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet so it has time to dry out while you work on the rest of the recipe. (You can do this a day ahead if desired.)
  3. In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat. Once cooked through, remove to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium and add butter. Once melted, add onion and celery and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and apple and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Add cubed bread.
  5. Add cranberries and season mixture with salt and pepper, toss to combine.
  6. Pour broth over the mixture and stir until bread is moist, but not soggy. Add more broth if needed.
  7. Transfer stuffing to prepared pan and bake until the top is browned and crisp, 35-45 minutes.

Recipe adapted from An Oregon Cottage.

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