My favorite part of a turkey dinner is the stuffing and the gravy. Give me a big bowl full of stuffing and a gravy boat and I’m in heaven. Now I’m not picky-I like pretty much all stuffing, but I truly LOVE my Grandma Phyllis’s Italian Sausage Stuffing.
But cooking a turkey is such a pain that I only used to eat the stuffing on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Until one day, in a stroke of brilliance, I realized that I DID NOT HAVE TO COOK A WHOLE TURKEY TO MAKE STUFFING! Yes, I know the rest of you probably knew that, but it was a novel idea to me. Once I made that breakthrough, it wasn’t long until I invented my own Stuffing Casserole.
Now stuffing casserole is very simple. You just make your favorite stuffing recipe, put it in a roasting pan, layer cooked poultry over the top, and then pour gravy over all. If you are even lazier, you can just toss the meat in with the stuffing ingredients and go from there. Have extra gravy to pour on at the table.
Now, if you don’t have a favorite stuffing recipe, I’ll give you sort of the basics of mine. I don’t usually measure, so I’ll just give approximations.
Grandma Phyllis’s Italian Sausage Stuffing
-approx 1 to 1 1/2 loaf of bread. (I save heels, stale hotdog rolls etc in a bag in the freezer until full)
-Italian sausage links
Tear the bread into small chunks. Personally I like to have some texture to my stuffing, so I like them about the size of a penny or so. Place the bread in a large stockpot or mixing bowl.
Cut your sausage in the middle and squeeze the meat out into a skillet. Brown like ground beef. For Thanksgiving I’ll use a whole package of sausage but for a normal meal I’ll use just 1 or 2 links-it will give the flavor without so many calories. Drain the meat and throw it in the pot on top of the bread. Next chop and saute the onion, celery and mushrooms. Again, I like fairly big chunks, but you can dice them fine if you like it that way. If you really want great flavor (and don’t care about calories) use the fat from the sausages to saute with. Toss them in with the bread and meat when done.
Here is where I get sort of unhelpful-I don’t have measurements for any of the spices or liquid. I season the whole thing with poultry seasoning, a little extra sage and some basil, and salt and pepper, then I toss it all together with my hands. If you were stuffing a bird you’d be done at this point (the juices from the bird would moisten the stuffing during cooking). Usually I add some chicken broth and toss it all together. I add liquid until the whole thing is about the moisture that I would expect the cooked stuffing to be.
Then the stuffing goes into a sprayed baking dish. I layer meat on top, pour gravy (made from a pkg) over it all, and bake for about 30-45 min at 350 to meld all the flavors together and warm it all up.