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Italian Sausage And Mushroom Dressing

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 dressing and 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 stuffed the turkey before it went into the oven. My “dressing” is done separate from the bird and I believe it makes a big difference, especially the way the turkey cooks .

I’m going to a Christmas party this year so I’m bringing my Italian Sausage And Mushroom Dressing. I’m using disposable deep-sided pans 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 pan or two of stuffing. 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 your favorite gravy on top!

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Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

Prep Time: 40 minutes (includes all prep and the cooking of the vegetables)
Baking Time 1 hour 10 to15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50 to 55 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, large mixing bowl, 2 (1/4-size) rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 (13 x 9 x 3-inch) baking dish or disposable pan, aluminum foil, chef’s knife

Tip:  The day before you want to make the stuffing, make the Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Ingredients:
2 loaves of  Ciabatta (artisanal bread)
3/4 of cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Step1: Homemade Croutons:
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Stuffing:
Use 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) to grease a 13 x 9 x 2 disposable pan (or casserole baking dish).

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

Directions:
In a large sauté pan over medium heat add butter and olive oil. Add the Cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, fresh ground black pepper, and fresh thyme leaves. Stir to combine. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have softened and released their water, add the Kosher salt. Cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the mushroom to a bowl and set it aside.

Steps 3 and 4: Italian Sausage And Vegetables:
Ingredients:
1 pound of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 large onion, diced
2 1/2 cups of celery diced, include leafy tops
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon of ground poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add olive oil and sausage breaking 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 sauté pan over medium heat melt butter. Add diced onions, celery, minced garlic, ground poultry seasoning, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool completely.

Step 5: The Mix:
Ingredients:

3 large beaten eggs (cage-free)
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian parsley flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 quart of chicken broth, unsalted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
In a mixing large bowl, add the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the dried thyme and fresh herbs, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Add the cooked mushrooms.  Combine really well so the mushrooms are completely coated.

In another very large bowl combine the croutons (cooked bread cubes), cooked sausage, and cooled veggie mixture. Add the egg-mushroom mixture to the bowl, gently toss to combine.

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 into the buttered casserole dish. Pour over any excess liquid left in the bowl.  Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown, and a meat thermometer reads 160-degrees F. This is my Italian Sausage And Mushroom Stuffing.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey

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Stuffing Muffins

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My Stuffing Muffins are a twist on a traditional dish. Family and friends are always amazed when they see these on the table. I’m going to be adding a unique ingredient to these Stuffing Muffins, I’m adding golden raisins. They add a touch of sweetness to a traditionally savory dish. If you don’t have golden raisins just substitute regular raisins they’ll work perfectly.

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Stuffing (2)

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 12 muffins
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (12-cup) muffin-tin pan, 1 small mixing bowl, 2 medium-size mixing bowls, 1 large mixing bowl, chef’s knife, large ice cream scoop, mini food processor, rubber spatula

Ingredients:
8 cups of Ciabatta bread, 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 stick of butter, unsalted
4 ribs of celery, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
3 large eggs, beaten (cage-free)
1/2 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1-quart of chicken stock, unsalted
1 sprig of fresh rosemary plus 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1-quart of chicken stock, unsalted

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Evenly divide the olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black peppe between the two pans, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool.

Directions:
Adjust oven temperature to 375-degrees F.
Start by spraying a muffin-tin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 sprig of rosemary, and sausage. Using a wooden spoon break the sausage apart and cook until no longer pink and brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the excess fat completely, transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl. Allow to cool and set aside.

In the same sautè pan over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter. While the butter is melting add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped sage leaves. Add the diced onions, celery, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. Next, add golden raisins, and poultry seasoning. Stirring frequently, cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the vegetables soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

In a medium-size mixing bowl add the eggs, ricotta cheese, dried thyme,1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, 1 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, and flat-leaf Italian parsley. Whisk to combine.

Add the cooled veggies and cooked sausage to the bowl containing the croutons. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix to combine. Finally, slowly pour the chicken broth over all the ingredients, allowing all the bread cubes to absorb the liquid. Gently continually stirring as you add the liquid. There will most likely be extra liquid in the bowl and will be absorbed during the baking process.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out a large helping, of the stuffing, into the muffin tins. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set and crisp on top. Keep a close eye on them as they cook, time may vary slightly.

To serve, carefully remove the Stuffing Muffins arranging them on a large serving platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed 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 along with the crunchy exterior of the sweet Italian sausage. Yet inside, the stuffing is soft and flavorful. What I’m describing is my Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Italian Sausage And Pears.

Let me start by showing you how roasting winter squashes brings out their flavor. Then I’m going to go a step further and fill them with savory sausage and sweet pears.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) non-stick sauté pan, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans, chef’s knife, small mixing bowl, whisk, pastry brush

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

Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 sprig plus 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 diced Bosc pears
1 diced zucchini
6 cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of chili powder
3 heaping cups of Homemade Ciabatta Croutons, 1 /1/2 inch bread cubes
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
Bib (Boston lettuce) lettuce and fresh sage for garnish

Directions For The Homemade Ciabatta Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to making sure they brown evenly.  Leave on sheet pans to cool.

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. Melt the butter then transfer the melted butter to a small mixing bowl. Add chili powder and brown sugar, whisk to combine. Brush the inside of each squash with the flavored butter mixture. Return to the 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, Set aside.

In a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat (no oil needed) add the skinless sweet Italian sausage. Using a wooden spoon, start breaking up the sausage. Cook the sausage for 15 minutes until brown, crumbly, and there is no pink. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel allowing the fat to drain, set aside.

Tip: Take a paper towel and wipe out the sauté pan. No reason to dirty another pan.

Using the same sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, olive oil, and chopped sage leaves. Once the sage becomes fragrant add the diced cremini mushrooms, zucchini, celery, onions, Bosc pears, minced garlic, chili powder, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Once the veggies start to soften, then add in the diced pears. Stir and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan, stir to combine. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Tip: It’s important that all the veggies are relatively cut the same size ensuring they’ll cook at the same time.

At this point, add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl with the croutons. Add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, gently toss to combine.

Fill each of the squash with the filling. Any extra filling place into an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top of each one and place back into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tops become golden brown and caramelized.

First, place the leafy greens on the plate. Arrange the Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Italian Sausage And Pears on top, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. Serve hot.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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