If I had to pick only one food item to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, it would be stuffing. Stuffing and dressing are the same thing. Traditionally stuffing is placed inside of the turkey to cook and dressing is cooked outside of the turkey in a dish. Also, depending on where you come from, and what era you were raised, you either call it dressing or stuffing. Or stuffin’.
I’m not sure, but I am willing to bet this recipe originated from either the box of dried bread cubes my mom purchased to make her Thanksgiving stuffing, or it possibly came from of her old red plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, published in the 1950’s! I make Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing a little different than my mom used to, using a bit more sage and I usually dry my own bread. The basic recipe is my mom’s and I’m sure there would be nothing short of a riot in our kitchen if I announced I was not making my mom’s Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing for Thanksgiving!
Think stuffing is too difficult to make? It is one of the easiest dishes I make every year at holiday time! I was appalled when I first heard people say they “made” STOVE TOP stuffing for Thanksgiving. THAT, my friends, is a crime. Seriously. Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing is the best recipe hands down for basic home cooked dressing you will ever taste. Simple steps: brown sausage, chop and cook veggies, throw in dried bread, broth, butter, seasonings and toss it all together. Repeat after me. This is easy. This is easy.
So grateful for recipes that bring generations together. Thanks Mom! I love you.
Apple, Sausage and Herb Stuffing
This homemade stuffing will take your Thanksgiving to the next level! It's so easy and has just the right balance of savory and a little sweet from the apples.
- 1 lb sausage (Jimmy Dean Regular or Spicy) I use half of each
- 1 medium yellow, white or sweet onion chopped about 2 cups
- 2-3 stalks celery chopped about 1 1/2 -2 cups
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 clove fresh garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Fresh sage or 2-3 tablespoons dry sage about 5 large leaves chopped or about 3-4 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 8-10 cups dried bread cubes homemade or store bought without seasoning
- ½ 14 oz bag "Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing" (Pepperidge Farm) OPTIONAL, If not using this ingredient, add additional 2 cups of dried bread cubes or crumbled dry bread*
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 apple cored, chopped (I usually use a Gala) peel left on
- 2-3 cans chicken broth MSG free about 4-5 cups
Cook the sausage, breaking up into pieces as the sausage is cooking. Drain the fat from sausage.
Add chopped onion and celery to the pan. Cook until softened over medium heat.
Season with salt, pepper and one clove of fresh minced garlic, sage (fresh or dry) and poultry seasoning. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl or container, pour in bread cubes, Pepperidge farm mix (if using) cooked sausage and vegetable mixture.
Drizzle melted butter over bread and vegetable mixture. As you pour, make sure the butter is drizzled over most of the bread, not only in one spot.
Add chopped apples to mixture and toss all ingredients together.
Pour chicken broth, about a cup at a time until moistened but not soggy over mixture in bowl. Making sure to evenly distribute and not pour in one spot.
Toss again. The broth will take a minute to be absorbed into the bread. At this point, the stuffing should be slightly wet or damp, and all of the broth absorbed by the bread. If the mixture appears to be dry, add more broth, about 1/2 cup at a time and toss.
Place stuffing into a large greased baking pan (or two 9x13 pans).
Cover with foil that has been greased on one side (side facing stuffing).
Bake at 350 for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. When finished baking, if stuffing seems dry, add a little more chicken broth by drizzling over the top of the casserole dish. Replace foil top until ready to serve.
- I buy Artisan bread or white bread, thick slice for this recipe. Cube and set out to dry on large jelly roll pans, Or dry in the oven a week or more before Thanksgiving. Two loaves of bread are enough for one to two recipes. Spread the cut up bread out on cookie sheets for about 1-1 1/2 hours on 250-300 degrees. Let cool, bag, and save until assembly of stuffing. You may also add olive oil, salt and pepper for flavor before drying the bread. Recipe for drying bread cubes here or you can purchase bread cubes at any grocery store.
- If purchasing bread cubes, I like unseasoned best, because I like to control the amount and what type of seasoning used!
- If you can't find, or forgot to purchase the Peppridge Farm dry stuffing, no problem. This was the way my mom made this stuffing, but it is not a key ingredient. You may substitute as directed in recipe. I have found that I don't like the texture of substituting with dry bread crumbs (the type sold in cans) in stores.
- Add broth just until bread is moistened and barely clinging to other pieces when shaped with hands.
- I generously season the stuffing, especially with sage. Fresh is best, but dried works well too.
- If the dressing is too moist, you may add more dry bread cubes or bake in an oven uncovered for a few minutes at 375. Toss once and let mixture dry in oven a bit!
- I usually double this recipe for a group of 25. With several other sides for Thanksgiving, double is plenty for 25.
- You may also make this 3-4 days before serving and store in refrigerator in Ziplock bags and then pour into a greased baking pan to cook. Allow about 15 extra minutes for cooking if taking directly out of fridge. This is also perfect for cooking in a slow cooker on low.