Sausage Stuffing


When I started following food blogs, I realized some authors had initiated them for the purpose of cataloging family recipes. Therefore the blog was their family cookbook essentially.

I didn’t think much of that concept, because I really didn’t have family recipes. My recipes were those I followed after I got married, when I began cooking seriously, based on saved recipes, those from cookbooks, or these days, recipes online as well.

Every day or two that I cooked, I made a new recipe. Thus my motto – so much food, too little time! There was always something to learn from a recipe, whether a technique or new ingredient.

And then there were holidays, like Thanksgiving. Of course I always made a turkey, but I never made it the same way, which also led to various-tasting gravies. But the side dishes were always different. When my daughters were really young they didn’t take part in the leisurely Thanksgiving meal, so it was an opportunity make new festive dishes – sometimes embracing our favorite global cuisines!

But when my daughters got older, they had Thanksgiving requests. Fine with me, but then I had to figure out what they were requesting. Like their request recently for sausage stuffing. No clue. What kind of sausage? What else is in it? No memory. Was it cornbread? Sourdough? Not sure.

Well great. Now I’m wishing that I’d documented this mysterious Italian sausage stuffing for my own purpose! So this recipe is one I’m (maybe) recreating so that next year I can remember it! I’m pretty sure it’s French-bread-based, and I remember using cognac and cream in the stuffing, inspired by a French recipe ages ago.

And the reason I didn’t post it before Thanksgiving is that I don’t only cook turkeys in November. This stuffing doesn’t have to be stuffed in a bird, either. It makes makes a nice side dish, prepared in a baking dish.

Italian Sausage Stuffing
Serves 4

1 baguette
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces Italian sausage, crumbled
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup of cream, or more
1 tablespoon cognac
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

If you’re baking the stuffing in a baking dish, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8 x 8” baking dish; set aside.

Remove the crusts from the baguette and crumble the bread. Measure 2 cups; set aside.

Heat the butter in a large skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until no pink shows. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl.

Using the remaining fat, saute the onion for about 5 minutes, now allowing too much caramelization. Stir in the garlic, and place the sautéed vegetables with the sausage.

Stir the bread crumbles into the sausage mixture gently, then pour the cream and cognac over the top. Stir again gently, and check to see if the stuffing is moist. You don’t want it wet, but it also shouldn’t be dry.

Add the remaining ingredients. Spoon the stuffing into the baking dish and bake, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.

The top should be golden brown.

If you prefer, any kind of whole-grain bread can be substituted for the French bread, and I’ve even used raisin bread in stuffings.

Plus, pecans and dried cranberries can be included as well.

And as I mentioned, you don’t only have to make stuffing on turkey day. Here I’ve served it with a turkey cutlet, but it’s just as delicious with chicken.

The stuffing is moist but not mushy, which is to my liking.

60 thoughts on “Sausage Stuffing

  1. Nice stuffing you got there Mimi. If I’m having stuffing, my first choice would be a sausage and bread stuffing. I’m not a fan at all, of Southern cornbread stuffing even though I was raised on it. Maybe that’s why I’m not fond of it. Great recipe and I love the cognac addition.

    • I think a cornbread-based stuffing can be made good but if that’s all you ate growing up i can see why you’d be tired of it! The addition of cream is really miraculous, as well.

  2. Have you seen Jacques Pepin’s party book? He puts the menus from each party in a book, and watercolor doodles around the edge, where people could write in it. I kind of dismissed it til I saw his party celebrating the arrival of his granddaughter. He dipped her little feet in cold coffee and stamped them on the page in celebration. The idea is just too wonderful.

    • Oh my goodness, how sweet. He’s been married to his wife forever, and has written cookbooks with his daughter, so he’s obviously a family man. I’ll look for it. Thanks, another cookbook… Merry Christmas!

  3. Agree completely: it doesn’t have to be “the bird” at all. Italian sausage and French bread stuffing, two eggs beaten and spread over the mixture, some salt, skillet and voila :-) Perfect quick week dinner it is ! Thank you ! Love the photos !

    • Aw, thank you! I thought it was hard to photograph. No too much cognac, and the cream really adds something as well!

  4. This stuffing sounds so good! I love having my blog to use as a “cookbook.” I usually have to try to re-create my family recipes since the ones I do have tend to be half written down.

    Also – I love the falling snow on your blog right now!

    • thanks! I love the snow. See, I just never had family recipes. My mother was just like me, always trying new recipes. But she was worse. For Thanksgiving she’d make Duck a L’Orange!!! Fortunately my husband didn’t care about suggesting repeat food and traditions. In fact, for our first Thanksgiving together, he asked me to make Ethiopian food!!!

  5. One of the first time I made a turkey, I followed a James Beard recipe that asked me to stuff sausage into the neck cavity to help baste the bird, then after the turkey was done, mix the sausage into the stuffing. It was so good.

  6. Its so true that many of us do use our blogs for the purpose of cataloging family recipes. That’s just exactly what I’ve done with many of my mums / family recipes. Many are traditional Scottish recipes that have been in the family for years that I didn’t want to loose. Love your Italian Sausage Stuffing recipe. Thumbs up for the cognac!! Hee Hee!!

    • That makes perfect sense! What a fabulous resource. My mother made quite a few French recipes, like Quiche Lorraine, where she was from, but she was more intrigued by International cuisines, which is why she had no traditions. I’ve obviously followed in her footsteps, sometimes to the dismay of my family!

  7. I use my blog partially as my personal cook book. Most of the recipes are one-offs — I rarely make the same dish the same way — but the recipe provides a general guide to technique and ingredients. Anyway, I usually don’t make a sausage stuffing, but I have in the past. This looks terrific — definitely something I’d request, too. Happy Holidays!

    • Right! I can barely follow any recipe to a t. Or is it tee? Anyway, it is a good idea to document your own recipes, or family recipes. Even if it’s for your own use!

  8. Haha! Who knows what the original recipe was, but this version sounds quite delicious! I must admit that I’m super intrigued by the bit of cognac in this one, Mimi. I love a good sausage stuffing! :-)

  9. I can see why your daughters remembered this and requested you make it again. It looks great on the plate and I am sure tastes delicious. I haven’t made a stuffing separate to the meat I’m cooking, it’s normally ‘inside’. My husband would love a whole side dish of stuffing 😉

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