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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Italian Sausage And Mushroom Stuffing

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 your favorite gravy on top!

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Sweet And Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing (2)

 

Prep Time: 40 minutes (includes prepping and cooking all vegetables)
Baking Time 1 hour 10 to15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50 to 55 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, large mixing bowl, two 1/4-size rimmed baking sheet pans, a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish

Note:  The day before making the stuffing, make the homemade bread cubes.

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 to 1 1/2 hours until bread is lightly toasted and completely dried out.

Step 1: Stuffing:
Use 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) to grease a 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 sauté pan over medium heat add butter and olive oil. Add the Cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, 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 aside.

Steps 2 and 3: Italian Sausage:
Ingredients:
1 pound of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound of sweet 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 butter, unsalted
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 sauté pan, on medium heat, add in 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 in onion, celery, minced garlic, Kosher salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Step 4: The Mix:
Ingredients:

3 large beaten eggs (cage-free)
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
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 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 it 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 an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown, and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey

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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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Roasted Acorn Squash Filled 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 Filled 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.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (3)

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (2)

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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: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick 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 sprig plus 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
3 heaping cups of homemade croutons, (Ciabatta bread), 1 /1/2 inch bread cubes
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
greens for garnish

Directions For The Homemade 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 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.

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 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 Parmigiano-Reggiano 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 400-degree F. oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tops become golden brown and caramelized.

Place leavy greens on the plate. Arrange the Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears on top, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. Serve hot.

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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