Traditionally, stuffing (or “dressing” depending on where you’re from) went inside of poultry and cooked along with the bird. I’m not sure when stuffing left the bird and ended up as its own dish, but I’m so glad it did (besides, the USDA recommends against stuffing a turkey for food safety reasons!).
Ever since watching that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air where all the moms, the sisters, and the grandmothers compete to make the best stuffing, I knew that I wanted to create my own. Maybe it was my eternal love for Stove Top Stuffing (I proudly admit that I find this simple-to-make stuffing comfortingly delicious) or my desire to lay the smack down on a bunch of early 90’s fictional characters, but a few years ago my stuffing was born. I had an idea of how to make it, but I looked up a bunch of recipes and pieced together what I liked to create my own. The result of my efforts is below and every year I make this stuffing, I find myself required to make more and more of it due to my friends demanding enough for leftovers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
UPDATE and SHORTCUT: With ever increasing time constraints due to just general life issues, I’ve had fantastic success combining this recipe with boxed stuffing (like Stove Top). Basically, if you’re in a crunch, skip the crouton making steps and just add the seasoning to your favorite store-bought stuffing. You’ll have amazing stuffing in a fraction of the time!
Makes enough to feed a small crowd at a potluck Total Calories = 4760 for the whole pan or roughly 300 calories per serving
This is the most time consuming part, so be patient! Using a long, sharp, serrated knife, cut the bread into cubes (you can do more than one slice at a time to speed up the process if your knife is sharp enough) and place the cubes on baking sheets. Avoid squishing the bread though at all costs.
Pre-heat the oven to between 325-350 degrees F.
Make sure the bread cubes are in one layer on two large baking sheets/pans and toast them in the oven until a deep golden brown (approximately 10 minutes). If you have a lot of bread then just bake the bread in batches.
Remove the bread cubes from the oven, let them cool, and then place them in a large bowl or deep tray.
Saute the sausage in a skillet on medium-high heat until fully cooked and crumbling (add just a little oil if the sausage sticks too much).
When the sausage is done, drain the liquid from the sausage and then move the sausage into the bowl with the bread/croutons.
Chop the herbs, vegetables, and apples.
Melt the butter in the same sauté pan/skillet over medium heat.
Add the diced onions, apples, and celery to the pan and sauté them until the onions are soft/almost translucent.
Add in the freshly chopped sage and rosemary and cook until well mixed.
Add this mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Then add the raw parsley and pepper. Mix everything very well together.
Note: At this point, you can let these ingredients sit as they are until you are ready to use them. They will stay well in the fridge covered with saran wrap for a day or so, which means you can prepare this the night before you want to serve it.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Lay the stuffing into a large baking dish (or two dishes depending on how large or small the dishes are)
Add in the salt and 2 cups of the chicken stock/broth evenly, but just enough to make the bread moist yet not squishy (no chicken broth should pool in the bottom of the baking dish). Mix the ingredients again. Add in more broth if you need.
Bake the stuffing at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until the top is crispy and the center is hot. It is ready to serve immediately, but if it cools off a bit, don’t worry. If the stuffing gets a little cold/dry, you can always add a little more broth and then re-toast it in the oven.
Stuff your face.
Also, don’t forget about leftovers! I even used some stuffing for breakfast as a bed for my omelet!
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