Stuffing is personal and people are very finicky concerning it. Some like it more on the dry side, and some prefer it more on the moist side. Some people have long-standing family recipes they don’t divert from, and some love to try new and exciting ways to prepare it each year. Some like it made with cornbread, and some like it made with plain old white bread. Some like the veggies pre-cooked, and some like them to go in raw for a little bite in the finished product…
You get my picture. Stuffing is personal.
I worship stuffing all ways. I love traditional stuffing made with white bread, I love southern stuffing made with cornbread, I love my Grandma’s soup-like dressing, I love it with butternut squash, I love it with apples, I love it with goat cheese; and I love it with nuts… I guess you can tell I’m not too picky.
The last couple of years I’ve made this stuffing as an alternative to my Grandma’s dressing that my Dad and brother aren’t crazy about, but my Mom and I love. Every year it’s a little different, but this year, I think I’ve found the winning recipe that will be in my repertoire for years to come.
I’m very fond of the taste and texture of cornbread but tend to think stuffing made with 100% cornbread is too sweet for my personal taste, so I’ve settled on an approximate 60/40 ratio of Italian bread to cornbread
Start by baking the breads in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes until fairly hard – without this step the mixture will just become a soggy mess when the chicken stock is added.
If you’re bread is very old and already pretty hard and dried out you may omit this step.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl – I actually didn’t have one large enough, so I used my large stock pot.
Brown one pound of italian sausage – sweet, original, or spicy will do. Drain and set aside.
I keep the veggies classic in this variation with chopped onion, celery, garlic, and a little herbaceous and fall-y kick of fresh sage.
Melt a little bit of butter in a large sauté pan.
Add veggies, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook over a medium heat until softened, about five minutes.
Add cooked veggies, sausage, cranberries, and remaining salt to the bread mixture.
Add in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, mix until combined. If you like stuffing to have a little bit more liquid, add the extra 1/2 cup, if you prefer it on the dry side, leave it out. Totally a personal choice.
Transfer to a greased 2.5-3 quart baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- 8 cups cubed day old Italian bread
- 5 cups cubed day old cornbread
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 ½ cups celery chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (sweet, original, or spicy)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 ½ – 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Transfer cubed bread to a large baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a large mixing bowl or stock pot. Increase the temperature to 350 degrees.
- Brown sausage in a large sauté pan over a medium high heat, set aside.
- Using the same pan, melt butter over a medium heat; add onions, garlic, celery, sage, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, about five minutes.
- Add veggies, sausage, cranberries, and remaining salt to the bread mixture. Mix until combined.
- Start by adding 2 ½ cups chicken stock, mix until combined. If you like a more dry stuffing leave the next ½ cup out, if you like a little bit more liquid add the remaining chicken stock.
- Transfer to a buttered 2.5 – 3 quart casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.