Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Ever sit there at Thanksgiving, digging your fork into a second (or third; who am I to judge?) helping of stuffing (or “dressing,” as some call it), and think “I wish I could just have stuffing for dinner whenever I wanted to!” Well, you can. Throw in some veggies and sausage, and suddenly it’s a main course. Call it a bread pudding or a strata if you will, but to me it’s stuffing. Of course, you can throw anything you want into stuffing, and November cooking magazines are rife with exotic variants containing everything from bacon to pineapple. But I like this recipe (which I’ve had for a couple of years, and can’t remember where it came from) because the flavors are still reminiscent of the traditional (to my family, at least) Thanksgiving sage stuffing, though it has a much more rustic texture. It’s comfort food without being bland or decadent. With a nice green salad on the side, it’s a cozy Sunday-night supper. And no need to roast a turkey!

¾ pound peasant-style white bread
½ pound sweet Italian sausage links
1 tablespoon butter
½ pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped carrot
¾ cup chopped celery
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1½ teaspoons minced fresh sage
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
7 ounces chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Trim crust from bread. Cut bread into 1½-inch cubes. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

4. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.

5. Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Combine bread cubes, sausage, and mushrooms in a large bowl.

6. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with a small amount of olive oil. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper; sauté 1 minute. Add to bread mixture.

7. Combine egg and broth, stirring with a whisk. Add to bread mixture; toss to coat. Spoon into a 9-inch-square baking dish coated with olive oil. Bake 45 minutes or until browned.

Serves: 4–6
Time: 1½ hours

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