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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade Stuffing With Italian Sausage And Mushrooms

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (3)

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (1)

I’ve been talking to a lot of people who say their favorite holiday dish is the stuffing, or dressing. I have to agree. My family’s traditional stuffing recipe has changed over the years. The ingredients are the same but the preparation is totally different. I remember my mother stuffing the turkey before it went into the oven. My stuffing is done separate from the bird and I believe it makes a big difference in the way that the turkey cooks. You can check out my turkey recipe under the “holiday dishes” category in the menu (top right hand side) of my homepage.

I’m going to a Christmas party this year so I’m bringing the stuffing. I’m using a disposable, deep sided baking pan for easy transport.

In my opinion the best bread for the bread cubes is Ciabatta bread. Let’s talk a little bit about the bread cubes and how easy it is to make your own.

I do think that you’ll want to make a large amount of this recipe. Family and friends love this dish and always want extra helpings. It’s also great to serve the next day, especially with a ladle of you favorite gravy on top!

 

 

 

 

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Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

Yields: 12 servings
Prep Time: includes prepping all veggies along with, sauteing all ingredients -40 minutes
Baking Time 1 hour 10-15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50-55 minutes

The day before I make the stuffing, I make the homemade bread cubes.
Equipment:
2- 1/4 size sheet pans
Ingredients:
2 loaves of Artisan bread – Ciabatta,
3/4 of cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a very large mixing bowl, add the bread cubes, Kosher salt and black pepper. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, and with the other hand toss the bread cubes around so they are all evenly coated with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread the coated bread cubes evenly over both sheet pans. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until bread is light toasted and completely dried out.

Day of Stuffing- Step 1:
Using 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) grease 13 x 9 x 2 casserole baking dish.

Ingredients:
2 pints of whole Cremini mushrooms quartered
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large saute pan, on medium heat, add butter and olive oil to pan. Add in the Cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Stir all the ingredients through and saute mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have softened and released their juices, sprinkle in the salt. Saute for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the mushroom to a bowl and set aside.

Step 2 and 3:
Italian Sausage:
Ingredients;
1 pound each of sweet and hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion diced
2-1/2 cups of chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large saute pan, on medium heat, add in olive oil and sausage braking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary and cook for around 15 minutes or until no longer pink. Discard the rosemary stems, drain.  Remove cooked sausage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

In the same saute pan. on medium heat melt butter. Add in onion, celery, minced garlic, Kosher salt, and pepper. Saute until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Step 4: The Mix:
3 large beaten eggs (cage-free)
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped sage leaves
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken broth

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, cheese, all herbs and seasonings. Add the cooked mushrooms.  Combine really well so the mushrooms are completely coated.

In another very large bowl, combine cooked bread cubes, cooked sausage, and cooked celery mixture. Add the egg- mushroom mixture to the bowl and toss through.

Finally, slowly pour the chicken broth over all the ingredients, allowing all the bread cubes to absorb the liquid. Continually stirring gently, as you add the liquid. There will most likely be extra liquid in the bowl, that liquid will get absorbed during the baking process.

Spoon the stuffing mixture to the buttered casserole dish. Pour over any excess liquid left in the bowl.  Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, bake and additional 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown, and meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

 

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Stuffing Muffins

 

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Stuffing muffins are a great way to serve this traditional side dish. My guests are always amazed when they see these on the table. Just as easy to make as baking the stuffing in a casserole dish

Equipment: 12 cup muffin tin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 12 muffins
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pound,  skins removed and browned, sweet Italian sausage  (drain excess grease completely)
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter
4 ribs of celery washed and trimmed into sticks, then diced
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups of Pepperidge Farm cubed bread
1 quart box of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Convection- 350 degrees F.
Preheat 2 large saute pans over medium high heat. To the first pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with with the skinless sausage links. Using a wooden spoon break the sausage apart and cook until golden brown, about 10- 15 minutes. Drain the excess grease from the sausage completely and set into a large bowl.

In the second saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter. While the butter is melting add in the chopped fresh sage leaves. Add in the onions and celery as you chop them. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Now add in the golden raisins. Saute for 5-6 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables. Lastly, add in the chopped parsley and turn the heat off.

Add the veggies and bread cubes to the bowl with the cooked sausage. Mix all the ingredients until combined.  Using a ladle, moisten the stuffing with the with the chicken stock until bread is soft not wet. This may use almost all the box of stock.

Using the reserved butter,  liberally butter the muffin cups. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing into the muffin tins. Bake until set and crisp on top, 12-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they cook, times could vary slightly.  Carefully remove the stuffing muffins to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash With Italian Sausage And Pears

 

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My favorite part of any stuffing is the crunchy and caramelized topping that occurs in the last minutes of cooking. How the croutons become golden brown, the pears release their sugars and glisten from that slight char and the crunchy exterior of the sweet Italian sausage. Yet inside, the stuffing is soft and flavorful. What I’m describing is my Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash With Italian Sausage And Pears.

Let me start by telling you how by roasting these beautiful winter squash I bring their flavor before filling them with savory sausage and sweet pears.

Here I have two types of acorn squash. I cut the tops off first, then remove the all the seeds carefully not to dig too far in and disrupt the inside bottom of the squash. Cut a small slice off the bottom. You want the squashes to sit upright while roasting.

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For the veggies and herbs, I have diced cremini mushrooms, zucchini, celery, onions, Bosc pears, minced garlic, and chopped fresh sage. It’s important that all the veggies are relatively cut the same size. This way they will cook and be done at the same time.

In a large saute pan, on medium heat,  I have two tablespoons of butter along with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once that’s melted I add in the chopped sage leaves. This allows them to release their oils and perfume the butter and oil. Once you start to smell the sage it’s ready to add in the other ingredients.

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I then toss in all the veggies, with a tablespoon of Kosher salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. I let them saute, on medium-high heat long enough to get some color on them. This should only take about 5 to 7 minutes. As the veggies are sauteing, I work on cutting up 1/2 a loaf of Ciabatta bread into cubes. The cubes are about 1-1/2 inches in size. Because I got a head start roasting the acorn squash, this allowed the oven to be freed up.

Now that the oven has been freed up and the acorn squash is resting on the sidelines. the sausage has been cooked. The veggies are sauteing on the stove. The Ciabatta has been cubed up and the temperature to the oven is still at 400 degrees F. Drizzle some olive oil all over the top, with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper. Spread them out in a single layer onto two baking sheets. Place them into the oven a bake for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You just want them to be a light golden brown.

Once all the veggies have sauteed, I add the sausage to the veggies with some chili powder and the diced pears. I saute this for just a couple of minutes together allowing the flavors to marry. About 3 to 5 minutes more.

At this point, I transfer all the ingredients to a bowl and add some Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and the baked croutons. I gently give all this a toss to combine. Now both squashes are ready to be stuffed.

One final step. They get a drizzle of olive oil over the top of each one and go back into the 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Just long enough to get the tops golden brown and caramelized.

I know it’s a few steps to pull this dish together. Really all the steps are easy. It’s just a matter of having all the prep done and roasting the acorn squash first. I’ll explain in more detail in the directions at the end.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, Chef’s knife, small mixing bowl, whisk, pastry brush

Ingredients:
4 acorn squash that has been seeded and tops and bottoms cut
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 diced Bosc pears
1 diced zucchini
6 cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 ribs of diced celery
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 heaping cups of  Ciabatta croutons, 1 /1/2 inch dice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by cutting the tops off the 4 squash. Next, clean the seeds out of the inside. Then cut a thin slice off the bottom of each one so they will sit upright on the baking sheets. Place 2 on each sheet tray. On the inside of each acorn squash add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender. In a small mixing bowl with melted butter add chili powder and brown sugar, whisk to combine. Brush the inside of each squash with the flavored butter mixture and return to oven for another 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the squash for the last few minutes of cooking. You don’t want them to burn. Remove the squash from the oven and allow them rest for 5 minutes before adding the stuffing.

For the stuffing, I’m starting by browning off skinless sweet Italian sausage. I break up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon. With the stove on medium-high heat, I let the sausage saute until it is fully cooked. I want it to be brown and crumbly. This takes about 15 minutes. then I place the cooked sausage on a plate lined with a paper towel so it will be able to drain off any excess fat. While this is happening I start working on chopping the veggies up that will be going into the stuffing.

 

 

After the squashes are in the oven, brown off the sausage. The sausage takes about 15 minutes to be fully cooked and crumbly. While the that’s happening, chop the veggies for the stuffing. Transfer the sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.

At this point, set the stove to medium heat, add the butter, olive oil, and chopped sage leaves to a large saute pan. Start sauteing the veggies with the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Once the veggies have started to soften, then add in the diced pears. This should take 5 to 7 minutes.

As the veggies are sauteing, cube up half the loaf of Ciabatta bread. Place them on two baking sheets. Drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Transfer the cooked sausage and veggies to a large bowl. To the bowl add in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Remove the squash from the oven and place the bread cubes in at the same temperature for another 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. You just want crunchy golden croutons.

Once they come out of the oven, add them to the bowl with the other ingredients. Gently toss everything together and fill the acorn squash with the stuffing. I usually have a little leftover, that I place into a small ceramic dish. It can go into the oven with the squash. Place everything back into the 400-degree oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the tops are a nice golden brown.

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