Casa M Sourdough Sausage Stuffing
We have a friend who throws a "pie party" every year at Thanksgiving so you can enjoy the "best part of Thanksgiving without all the rest." We go every year and, don't get me wrong, pie is good and all but Manny and I, obviously have different priorities and perspective for/of the holiday. First, there are two "best parts" of Thanksgiving. We can get away with having two best things because they really don't compete with each other. Celebrating together with the family all the things for which you are collectively thankful is by far the best thing about Thanksgiving to us from the non-culinary perspective. As far as food is concerned, it's a tie for first place between the sides and the turkey, of course! You didn't think we were going to pick favorites from a meal so epic it takes us a week to set the menu, countless grocery store runs, and several days to prepare, did you? OK I will go on the record as saying this is by far and away my favorite stuffing recipe throughout the years. We've cycled through quite a few and this one is the most requested. It's simple yet elegant. It's got several points where you can customize to taste, but a strong base that will stand up and deliver every time. Don't get frustrated with the "non-exact measurements" in some parts. This recipe requires a little bit of an audible call on the fly depending on your selected ingredients and the moisture they give off.
We always make a 2 pound loaf of bread to cut up and put into the oven on the dehydrate setting for the bread cubes. That works just as well if you buy the bread to cut up as it does if you make it. So this is the first choice always and willl give the best results. Fallbacks to that are to use something like sandwich bread that you leave out to get stale or toast lightly in the oven to drive off most moisture. Last option here is to get a box of "stuffing mix" to start things out. This is the least favorite method, but it works. Using butter to sautée the vegetables gives it a rich flavor that most oils can't compete with. The fresh herbs can be mixed and matched as needed. They each add a great flavor profile on their own, but no single one will be missed if you can't find it fresh at the time. Which stock you use will impact the stuffing substantially. Make sure the stock tastes good on its own before using it. If you wouldn't want to sip a cup of the stock out of a teacup, find another broth/stock to add that you would. Chicken stock from the grocery has actually gotten very good and reliable. Of course, making your own is the best route, but if you don't have time to do that, use what you can get and make sure it tastes good. Last item in the notes is the volume of liquid for the stuffing. In the mixing step below, you should add the stock a little at a time and mix, then add more and mix, adding until the mixture isn't taking up any more stock, but not until the bread is saturated and sitting in a bath of broth as that will likely yield a mushy stuffing that doesn't have much texture.
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Bread Cubes:
- 1-1/2 pounds dried bread cubes (see headnotes above)
For the Meat:
- 1 pound Italian sweet sausage, cut or formed into 1/3" rounds
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Pecking Order®
For the Vegetables:
- 1 cup butter
- 3 cups sweet onion, diced
- 3 cups celery, diced
- 2 cups Hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, diced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Cattle Drive®
Pulling It All Together:
- 3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2-1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 2 large eggs, beaten
In the mixing step below, you should add the stock a little at a time and mix, then add more and mix, adding until the mixture isn't taking up any more stock, but not until the bread is saturated and sitting in a bath of broth as that will likely yield a mushy stuffing that doesn't have much texture.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
Decide on what bread cubes you will use. If you're baking the bread to make the cubes, remember the loaf will need to fully cool, then get cut up, then dehydrate, so figure 24 hours ahead to start that process at least. Same is true if you buy a couple loaves of bread to make the bread cubes. You can always put the finished dehydrated bread cubes into a large zip-top bag and hold onto them until you're ready. This is a good do-ahead step.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a deep 13" x 9" baking dish.
Brown the sausage in a skillet. Once the sausage is browned, turn off the heat, add the Casa M Spice Co® seasonings, and mix together. Let cool in the frying pan (including the juices).
In a large Sautée pan heat the butter over medium-high heat, then add the onions, garlic, and celery and let them start to brown, then add the mushrooms stirring occasionally until they give up their liquid and the vegetables start to reduce. Reduce the heat to low, add the Casa M Spice Co® seasonings and Hatch green chiles, stir well, and continue to simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and have lost most of their moisture.
Put your dried bread cubes into a very large mixing bowl. Add the sausage (including drippings and juices), the fresh herbs, and the sautéed vegetables. Mix together the eggs and stock. With large serving or mixing spoons, add a little broth to the bowl, then gently mix. Gently fold things together to keep the bread cubes intact and not turning into bread sawdust. Add a little broth at a time and gently mix after each addition. Add broth until the bread is no longer absorbing liquid and you have a little broth left over in the bottom of the bowl then STOP adding broth. It may be a little more than the 2-1/2 cups called for. It could be a little less. It will depend on how much liquid was in your vegetables and how dehydrated the bread cubes are. Adding too much stock at this point will lead to mushy stuffing with little to no texture. Over mixing or mixing too roughly will lead to mush as well.
Bake the stuffing uncovered for about an hour until the internal temperature in the middle of the pan reads 160°F. If the stuffing starts to brown too much on top before it's finished cooking, throw some foil over the top and finish cooking until the middle reads 160°F.
Serve while hot. Leftovers refrigerate well for up to a week. They also freeze quite well in freezer bags.