Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing

Written by CMP on November 16, 2008

Stuffing

This is the bread and meat stuffing we always had every Thanksgiving while I was growing up. There are a few vegetables thrown in the mix, but they're really only there for appearances. And my family never messed around with fruit in the turkey stuffing either. Some folks like apples or raisins or some other fruit that really has no business being inside a turkey. Not me.

A final note before we get to the details. I cook mine inside the turkey. Yes, the picture above shows the stuffing after it's been baked in a little le crueset ramekin, but that's only what I do with what won't fit inside the bird. If you're nervous about salmonella (sam and ella?), you can use a meat thermometer to check the middle of the stuffing for proper temperature - or simply cook it outside the turkey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Loaf of Italian Bread
  • 4 Strips of Bacon, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 6 Sweet Italian Sausages, remove from the casings
  • 4 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Ribs of Celery, diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs
  • 7-8 Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees.

Using a serrated bread knife, cut the crust off the loaf of italian bread. (a quick aside - you can save the crusts to make your own bread crumbs). Now, cut the remaining inside of the loaf into 1/2" - 3/4" cubes. Place the cubed bread, in one layer, on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbs of the olive oil, the bacon, and the sausage to the pan. Stir frequently and, as the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to continually break it up. In the end, you want pieces that are no larger than the bread cubes. Cook bacon and sausage until it's all a deep brown, then pour everything in the pan into the same bowl that the bread is in.

Return the pan to the stove and add the remaining 2 Tbs of oil along with the onion and celery. Add a pinch of salt and cook until onion is translucent (about 5-6 minutes). Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute longer. Turn the heat to high and add the chicken stock to the pan. Using the back of your wooden spoon, scrape up any of the brown bits that remain on the bottom of the pan, cook for about 2 minutes, then pour it all into the mixing bowl that already has the bread and sausage mixture.

Using your hands (it's the only way, really), mix the ingredients in the bowl. Squeeze the mixture through your fingers a few times to help the bread soak up the liquid. Beat the eggs in a seperate bowl with the chopped sage and pour into the mix. Combine well (again, with your hands).

Clean your hands.

You can now either stuff your bird or bake the stuffing in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. If your going the inside-the-turkey route, the best method is to roast the turkey for a longer period of time at a slightly lower heat. Last year I had the turkey on the weber for about four hours with the temperature never getting above 325.

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