As we’re coming up to Thanksgiving in this very strange year, I know a lot of people who are celebrating differently. In our house, that means just the two of us. With only two people eating it can seem like a lot of excess work and food to do up a full Thanksgiving meal. So this week, I’ve decided to share some really great menu options for having a lovely and special meal for only two people. While still enjoying the food, and of course, having leftovers. I’ve got a whole menu planned out with easy and delicious recipes. So far we’ve got a Simple Charcuterie Board for Two, a Kale & Pumpkin Salad, and some Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. Today, it’s time for the all important stuffing. Baked Sausage Stuffing to be exact!Jump to Recipe
Now right away, I can hear some of you rolling your eyes at a baked stuffing. But please hear me out! What makes a stuffing from inside the bird so good? The juices and seasonings right? So logically, a baked stuffing made with good seasoning and good quality stock is just as yummy! That’s science. Stuffing Science. It’s a real thing…
It’s All About The Ingredients
And this stuffing is SO full of flavour. For a baked stuffing to be as good as the real thing, all it takes is good ingredients. If you’ve checked out the other recipes in this series (which you totally should btw) you’ll have noticed a theme of shopping local. Who better to give our thanks to than the growers and creators who have worked tirelessly through the whole pandemic trying to keep their communities fed, right?
Let’s talk sausage and meat juices first. Making your own stock is a fine option, (and you can check out my guide here) but it’s not always a reasonable option for busy folks. If you have a local butcher who sells chicken stock, I would recommend getting your stock there. You know it will be flavourful, high quality and won’t have any preservatives or extra crap. Local butchers are also your best spot for sausages. They will either make their own in house, or they’ll bring in high quality ones from another local source.
The All Important Bread
Next up is the bread. You want a bread that absorbs lots of juice and flavour, but that holds up to the cooking process. More rustic style breads are good for this since they have lots of good holes and tend to be very sturdy. Again, you can make your own sourdough (guides here and here) but that takes time, that you might want to spend relaxing. If you’re in the Ottawa area, my favourite local baker lady is Heather’s Hearth. Not only does she have some killer breads (Walnut Raisin Sourdough is one of my favs) but she actually teaches classes in bread making. So you could try out her breads this Thanksgiving, and then try out a class once she has them going again. If you’re outside the Ottawa valley, try looking up local bakeries and seeing if they have some good sourdough options.
Since I love them, the next place I must shout out for this recipe is Harvest Moon Orchard. This stuffing has pears in it to bring some sweetness and cut through the richness of the sausage. And right now Harvest Moon Orchard has some really delicious pears available. I first came across these guys at the Carp Farmers Market, and was drawn in because my dork brain got excited by their name. (Harvest Moon is a video game that I’ve loved for years) So imagine my excitement when they turned out to be a wonderful source of apples, pears and fresh cider. Yum!
Don’t Forget the Wine!
And finally, I like to use a touch of wine in my stuffing, especially if I choose a spicier sausage. Last year I got to meet the awesome folks at KIN Vineyards and they’ve been a favourite ever since. My favourite to use in this recipe (and to drink alongside this meal) is their Carp Ridge Chardonnay. I don’t usually like chardonnay, I tend to find them a bit too in your face. But this one is subtle while still having a huge depth of flavour. It honestly has multiple levels to its flavour that unfold while you drink it. So bonus when it was also perfect in this recipe! I highly recommend checking them out. They have so many great wines, and they usually have fun events happening (even during the pandemic!).
Baked Sausage Stuffing
- 4 cups Sourdough Bread cubed
- Olive Oil
- 2 Italian Sausages We use a hot variety, pick your favourite flavouring.
- 1/3 cup Diced Pear choose a sturdy cooking variety
- 1/3 cup Diced Celery
- 1/3 cup Diced Parsnip
- 1/3 cup Diced Sweet Onion
- 1 Tbsp Each Sage & Thyme Fresh, Finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Each Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- Heat the oven to 375F
- Spread the cubed sourdough onto a line baking sheet, and dry in the oven for about 5-6 minutes. You don't want to toast them too much, just to dry them out a bit. Remove from the oven and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Heat a few glugs of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium low heat.
- Slice open the sausage casing and remove the meat. Tear the meat into small chunks and add it to the skillet. Brown the pieces for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the onion, celery and parsnip to the skillet. Continue to cook until the sausage is cooked through, and the vegetables are softened. The vegetables should be starting to take on a golden colour. About 5-7 minutes.
- Add the sausage and veggie mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add the herbs, pear, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Pour the wine and stock over the stuffing mixture and stir to coat everything. Set aside to let everything absorb for 3-5 minutes.
- Oil a medium baking dish, I used a 6×8 ceramic dish. Pour in the stuffing mixture, and even out the top. Cover with foil, and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top is crisp and becomes a nice deep golden colour.