Sausage and Roasted Garlic Stuffing
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1.5 hour (if preparing roasted garlic) | Ready Time: 2 hours
Stuffing loyalties run deep in our family. Erik likes nuts and dried fruit soaked in port. Mary and I prefer gluten free cornbread and sausage. Jack insists on cutting his own bread cubes, while the kids love the packaged seasoned bread cubes. Needless to say, it’s a challenge to please everybody with a single stuffing, but this is a recipe that we can all agree on—an all-around favorite. We love the simple and familiar combination of good ole breakfast sausage and sweet sautéed onions and celery with heady roasted garlic and sage. Do yourself a favor and make this versatile tried-and-true stuffing more than just once a year.
1/4 C roasted garlic, homemade or purchased
1 pkg (14 ounces) seasoned bread cubes, such as Pepperidge Farm (see note for gluten free option)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
12 oz ground breakfast sausage
1 3/4 C water
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
To prepare roasted garlic:
2 cups peeled cloves garlic (see Note)
1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Place the garlic in a small glass baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Add enough olive oil to cover the cloves. Bake until the cloves are soft and tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cloves to the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth, adding the olive oil from the baking dish as needed. Reserve the remaining oil for other uses. Refrigerate the purée and oil until ready to use. Makes approx. 3/4 cup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
Put the bread (or cornbread, see note) cubes in a large bowl.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, kosher salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour over the bread cubes. Set the skillet over medium heat and put the sausage in the pan. Cook, breaking the sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl. Pour off excess fat from the skillet.
Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the water, roasted garlic, the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, parsley, sage, and thyme and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Bring to a simmer, then pour into the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top crisps slightly, 5 to 10 minutes more.
Do-Ahead: The stuffing can be assembled up to 1 day in advance. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature, then bake as directed.
Note: For gluten free variation, make a batch of GF cornbread (We like Glutino). Cut into bite sized cubes (you will need about 5 cups) and spread on sheet pan, uncovered, to dry over night.( If you are short on time, you can skip this step.) Cook at 375 degrees until cornbread is dry and resembles croutons, about 30 minutes.
Note: Prepeeled garlic cloves from your produce section make this recipe even simpler. Whip the heady purée into mashed potatoes, sauces, soups, and pasta for added depth of flavor. The garlic purée and garlic oil keep for at least 2 weeks refrigerated.
Tip: For hassle-free peeling, soak the garlic cloves in a bowl of cold water for 20 to 30 minutes. The papery skin should slip off easily.