In my family, at least, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a turkey dinner complete with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce and, of course, stuffing. Turkey stuffing means different things to different people: my family goes with a simple bread stuffing flavoured with onions and celery, others swear by rice-based stuffings and I’ve even talked to people who stuff mashed potatoes right in the turkey. This stuffing is a riff on my mom’s traditional bread stuffing, with the addition of bulk sausage meat.

Then there’s the question of whether to stuff the turkey or bake the stuffing as a separate casserole. I’ve chosen to do this stuffing outside of the turkey — it gives an option to those who prefer not to stuff and this way you can also make and serve it as a weeknight casserole on nights when you’re craving stuffing but aren’t actually roasting a turkey. The sausage gives it enough meaty taste and adds enough fat to give it a proper stuffing flavour without it having to roast in the turkey. That said, if you’d prefer you can also cook this stuffing in your bird, baking any excess in a separate casserole dish.

  • c
     
  • c
    1 tbsp butter
  • c
    olive oil
  • c
    1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • c
    1 pound bulk sausage
  • c
    3 celery stalks, chopped
  • c
    2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • c
    2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • c
    2 garlic cloves, minced
  • c
    1 loaf of French bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • c
    1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
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    1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • c
    1/2 chopped parsley
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    1-1/2 tsp thyme
  • c
    salt and pepper
  • c
    1 cup chicken broth
  • Directions
    • 1
      Put a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter together with the oil. Once the oil is glistening, add the onions and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Cook the onions for about 45 minutes, sprinkling with a bit of salt at the 20 minute mark. You want the onions to caramelize not burn — turn the heat down if they start to get crispy and be sure to stir regularly so they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan. The onions are done when they’re brown and syrupy. This step can be done a day in advance. If you’d prefer not to use caramelized onions, skip this step and brown your onions with the celery and mushrooms in step #4.
    • 2
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • 3
      After the onions are caramelized, return the pan to the stove and add the bulk sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until the sausage is no longer pink and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserving the sausage on a plate.
    • 4
      Adding some more oil to the pan if necessary, add the celery, mushrooms, apple, garlic (and onions if you chose not to caramelize). Cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
    • 5
      Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and add the onions, cooked sausage, celery mixture, pecans, parsley, sage and thyme. Stir it up the best you can, then transfer to a greased 9” x 13” baking dish. Drizzle with the chicken broth (using a bit more broth if you like a moister stuffing).
    • 6
      Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the bread has started to brown and the mixture is hot.
    Tips
    • 1
      Tip: To free up your oven, make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, then reheat it in the oven while your turkey is resting.

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