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Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing

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Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing is a sure-fire way to impress this holiday season. Make sure to use fresh herbs for this hearty stuffing that’s savory with a touch of sweetness from the cranberries.

Close up shot of finished stuffing in a white baking dish

I’ve always been a super picky eater. And growing up, my food couldn’t touch or I wouldn’t eat the parts that did touch.

My parents rolled with it because I devoured the food I loved, and it was probably easier than fighting it. I still portion my food separately, but that’s just habit.

I was never a fan of stuffing at Thanksgiving, because it was always mushy. And I didn’t do mushy. One of my favorite ways to eat stuffing these days is my Venison Stuffing Balls.

I’ve been trying out different stuffing recipes recently, looking for one that speaks to me. And I found that with Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It combines all the fabulous flavors of the season
  • You can easily customize it to fit your needs
  • You can prep it ahead and bake as needed
Overhead shot of finished Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing in a white baking dish with a yellow napkin on the side


My goodness…now this is the way stuffing should be!

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR SAUSAGE SAGE CRANBERRY STUFFING

I like to use Hot Italian Sausage because I really like the flavor and always have it on hand.

Make sure you use bread that’s a couple days old. This helps it soak up the liquid better. I like to use a loaf of Sourdough bread and keep the crust on.

Cut the bread into good-sized chunks, about 1”. This helps the bread keep its texture and not get overly mushy.

Use fresh herbs! I can’t stress this enough. Fresh herbs make a world of difference in the flavor. Parsley is plentiful year-round and available in bunches. You can find small packages of fresh sage and rosemary near to the other packaged produce in the grocery store.

Use a wine that you like to drink! You’re not adding much wine, and the alcohol cooks out. But if you use a wine you don’t like, you’ll end up with a stuffing you don’t like.

Dried Cranberries add a really nice touch of sweetness to the stuffing. I have not tried this recipe with fresh cranberries but I think they would be REALLY tart.

Close up shot of finished Sausage Cranberry Sage Stuffing in a white baking dish with a spoonful of stuffing removed and a spoon in the baking dish
OPTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Don’t like Italian Sausage? Use pork sausage instead. Or skip true pork altogether and use turkey or chicken sausage. You could even go vegetarian with veggie sausage. If you use a leaner sausage you may need a little more oil.

Don’t have sourdough bread? You can use any crusty bread. The real key is that it’s a little stale and you cut it into chunks. You could also go low carb with keto-friendly bread…but please note I have not tried it this way.

Don’t like cranberries? You can omit them, but then the stuffing will be very savory. I recommend that you substitute with raisins or carrots. If you use carrots, cook them along with the onion and celery so they soften.

Don’t drink wine? Substitute with a little more chicken broth.

BAKING TIPS

Mix everything together well with a Wooden Spoon. Then allow the mixture to rest for 1-2 minutes and mix again. This helps the liquid absorb, so you don’t end up with really mushy stuffing on the bottom.

Don’t smush the stuffing into the baking dish. I did that the first time, thinking it would help the liquid finish absorbing. It didn’t, and the bottom was softer than I liked.

Move the baking dish to the top rack for the last 15 minutes. This helps the bread on top get even more golden brown.

Close up shot of finished Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing in a white baking dish
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread into 1″ chunks and place onto a Baking Sheet. Put into the oven for 10 minutes to toast lightly. Immediately transfer the bread to a large bowl.

Add a little bit of oil to a large skillet. Add the Italian sausage and break it up with a spoon. Cook the sausage for 5 minutes, until just cooked through.

Overhead process shot: sausage cooking in a black skillet

Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bread.

Take the egg out of the fridge, beat it lightly in a small bowl, and set aside so it comes to room temperature.

Melt butter in the same skillet, and add the onion and celery. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, sage, and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes, and remove the skillet from the heat.

Overhead process shot: vegetables cooking in a black skillet

Add broth to the vegetable mixture, and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool down the vegetables. Next, stir in beaten egg and cranberries.

Overhead process shot: vegetables, egg, and broth in a black skillet

Pour the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the bread and sausage. Mix well with a wooden spoon until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.

Overhead process shot: all stuffing ingredients combined in a large glass bowl

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack. Transfer to the top rack and bake for another 15 minutes.

Finish with fresh parsley and serve

Overhead shot of a serving of stuffing on a white plate with the baking dish with more stuffing in the background
SERVING, MAKE-AHEAD AND LEFTOVER OPTIONS

Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing is best served immediately. It does hold really well, and will still be delicious as part of a holiday buffet spread that guests enjoy over time.

For leftovers, transfer the stuffing to an airtight container. In the fridge it will last 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.

Make Ahead Options:

  • Prep the stuffing, and transfer it to the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and put into the fridge up to 1 day ahead. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking, and bake as normal
  • Cook the sausage, prep the vegetables, and store in separate containers in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Toast the bread, assemble the stuffing and bake.
MORE DELICIOUS HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES
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overhead shot of finished Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing in a white baking dish

Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Sausage Sage Cranberry Stuffing is a sure-fire way to impress this holiday season. Make sure to use fresh herbs for this hearty stuffing that's savory with a touch of sweetness from the cranberries

Ingredients

  • 16oz crusty bread, cut into 1" pieces (use at least day-old bread for best results)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (I use avocado oil or canola oil)
  • 16oz hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spread out the bread on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and toast for 10 minutes. Transfer the bread cubes immediately to a large bowl
  3. While the bread toasts, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook for 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bread
  4. Melt butter in the same skillet. Add onion and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Next, add salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Toss together and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  6. Pour the stock into the skillet, and allow to sit for 2 minutes to cool the vegetables. Stir in the beaten egg and add the cranberries.
  7. Pour the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the bread and sausage. Mix well with a wooden spoon, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack. Transfer to the top rack and bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Finish with fresh parsley and serve.

Notes

Make sure you use bread that is a couple of days old. This helps it soak up the liquid better. I like to use a loaf of Sourdough bread and keep the crust on.

Use fresh herbs! I can’t stress this enough. Fresh herbs make a world of difference in the flavor. 

Use a wine that you like to drink! You’re not adding much wine, and the alcohol cooks out. But if you use a wine you don’t like, you’ll end up with a stuffing you don’t like.

OPTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Don’t like Italian Sausage? Use pork sausage instead. Or skip true pork altogether and use turkey or chicken sausage. If you use a leaner sausage you may need a little more oil.

Don’t have sourdough bread? You can use any crusty bread. The real key is that it’s a little stale and you cut it into chunks.

Don’t like cranberries? You can omit them, but then the stuffing will be very savory. I recommend that you substitute with raisins or carrots. If you use carrots, cook them along with the onion and celery so they soften.

Don’t drink wine? Substitute with a little more chicken broth.

Make Ahead Options:

  • Prep the stuffing, and transfer it to the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and put into the fridge up to 1 day ahead. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking, and bake as normal
  • Cook the sausage, prep the vegetables, and store in separate containers in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Toast the bread, assemble the stuffing and bake.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 737mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 12g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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