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Italian Bread & Sausage Stuffing

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Yields about 19 cups, enough to fill a 12- to 14- pound turkey and a 9x13-inch baking dish.

This stuffing doesn't stop at bread, sausage and the usual lineup of aromatic vegetables; Marsala, fresh thyme and the optional chopped turkey liver give it deep, rich flavor. For instructions on baking the stuffing, see Stuffed Roast Turkey.

  • 14 cups Italian bread, like ciabatta, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 loaves)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (or stuffed sausage, casings removed)
  • 1 turkey liver, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 large ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1-1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 Tbs. dried sage
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sweet Marsala wine

Pile the bread cubes into a very large bowl and set aside. Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, half of the sausage, and the chopped turkey liver (if using). Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula into 1/2- to 1-inch bits, until light brown, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl of cubed bread; repeat with the remaining sausage. In the fat left in the pan, sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme, sage, salt, and pepper, cook 1 minute, and then add the mixture to the cubed bread.

With the pan off the heat, carefully pour in the Marsala. Keep your face away from the pan as the wine will sputter. (It’s unlikely that Marsala will ignite, but if it does, just back off and let it burn for a few seconds until the alcohol has cooked off.) Set the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring to scrape up any flavorful bits in the pan. Boil for 2 minutes and then add the Marsala to the bread mixture; stir until well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

NOTE: You’ll have enough of the stuffing to fill a 12- to 14- pound turkey and a 9x13-inch baking dish. See the corresponding recipe for Stuffed Roast Turkey for instructions on how to prepare and stuff the turkey and how to bake the stuffing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cup; Calories (kcal): 300; Fat (g): 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 18; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 660; Cholesterol (mg): 60; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Note: this recipe was reprinted in #67, where they indicate clearly: "Spread the mixture in a baking dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned and crisped, about 15 minutes." I've included this here because I don't want this recipe to be overlooked - it's great! It's our go-to stuffing recipe now, and I love the fact that it doesn't have to go in the bird. I'm giving it 4 stars because the last time I did it, I had problems with the amount of moisture in the stuffing (too dry), and I also have a note on my copy of #67 saying to watch the timing.

I have being making this stuffing since it was published in November 1999 and have subscribed to the magazine ever since. My family loves this stuffing. Best stuffing ever.

Loved this recipe! Delicious! Everyone raves about it when we make it.

We love this stuffing and make it every year. When you see it in the magazine, it is clear that it goes inside the turkey. Apparently this is less obvious when it is seen as a stand-alone recipe. It is a fantastic recipe.

Not sure if this dressing is meant to be baked after assembly. It seems like it should be.

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