What would Turkey Day be without stuffing?
Actually, confession: I am not a stuffing fan. Never was. Until we started celebrating Fakesgiving. The first year we did Fakesgiving, Kyle and I were deciding what to put on the menu. Turkey, of course, and pierogis (Thanksgiving tradition in Kyle’s Polish family), these smoked gouda mashed potatoes (now a Fakesgiving tradition) and maybe some mac and cheese (my specialty). But then Kyle was like, “let’s have stuffing!” And I was all, “stuffing is gross.”
Fast forward through the arguments for and against stuffing, and there we are at the grocery store shopping for stuffin’ fixin’s. Problem was, neither of us really knew what goes in stuffing. We’d never cooked it, and I barely even ate it, which meant I was zero help. So we winged it. We threw in some bread, and some sausage, and some herbs, and some other stuff – and it was MAGICAL. I tried a bite on principle. But then I had another bite. And another bite. And then people were grabbing for second helpings. And I thought, “hey…this stuffing kind of rocks.”
Over the last few years, we’ve perfected our Fakesgiving recipes. And I’ve become a stuffing convert. At least for THIS stuffing, anyway. I love this recipe because it has all the flavors of fall and it’s just perfect beside a slice of turkey and a scoop of potatoes. If you aren’t a fan of the sweetness pumpkin bread has, substitute sourdough instead – it’s just as awesome. Also, see the notes at the end of the recipe for tips on making it ahead of time – this stuffing keeps well in the fridge or freezer so you can just pop it in the oven before dinner and not have to worry about cooking everything on the day of. Which is the best.
- 2 cups stale pumpkin bread, cubed
- 2 cups stale pumpernickel bread, cubed
- 2 granny smith apples, diced with seeds and stems removed
- 1 lb. italian sausage
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cups vegetable, chicken, or turkey stock
- Place the pumpkin bread, pumpernickel, and diced apple in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook italian sausage. When it's cooked through, pour the sausage into a separate bowl and return the skillet to the burner over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and sage to the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Return cooked italian sausage to the skillet and stir it into the onion mixture. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add butter to sausage mixture and stir until all butter has melted.
- Remove skillet from the heat and pour sausage mixture into the bowl with the bread and apples. Stir to combine.
- Add stock to stuffing mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition to let the bread soak up all the liquid. Stuffing should be moist but not mushy - if it's soaked up enough liquid after 1 and 1/2 cups of stock you may not need the whole 2 cups.
- Transfer stuffing to a deep, oven-safe baking dish. An 11x13 should do just fine.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove foil, and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
The pumpkin bread lends a bit of sweetness to the stuffing - if you aren't a fan, substitute sourdough instead.
MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME: If you want to make the stuffing ahead of time, prepare it, fill the baking dish, and let it cool on the counter until it is no longer hot to the touch (about 40 minutes). Cover the stuffing (use an airtight lid or a layer of foil followed by a layer of plastic wrap) and refrigerate or freeze it. When you're ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and follow the baking directions above. If you froze it, let it defrost on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge for a day before you bake it so that it will cook evenly.