Last year on Thanksgiving, my older brother, while shoveling stuffing down his throat asked, "How come we only have stuffing once a year? It's so good!" I have to agree with him, stuffing is one of the main reasons I look forward to turkey day. Although I change up the recipe I use, there's one ingredient (besides bread) my stuffing must have: Italian sausage.
As the plump sausage renders fat, it imparts an incomparable depth of flavor and porky goodness to the bread and vegetables. This recipe combines the fragrant juicy pork with soft butternut squash, leafy kale, oozing parmesan cheese, and melt-in-your mouth focaccia. The elements may not be traditional, but the resulting stuffing is comforting, addictive, and most-importantly, delicious. To serve this stuffing to your family, get the recipe and
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 pound sweet Italian fennel sausage, casings removed, broken into small pieces
3 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale, leaves trimmed and chopped
1 pound stale onion focaccia, cubed
1 large egg
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock
1 cup diced parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup shredded
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
- Add the leeks and squash and season with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook until the leeks are soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the kale, toss and cover until the kale wilts, about 4 minutes.
- Add the focaccia cubes and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and toss until the butter melts.
- Whisk the egg and chicken broth in a bowl until smooth; stir in the diced parmesan and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Pour the broth mixture over the bread mixture; cook until the liquid is absorbed by the bread, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Scatter the shredded cheese evenly on top and bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes.
- Set aside for 5 minutes before serving.
- Stuffing/dressing, Side Dishes