My Mom, otherwise known as Gigi, is an incredible chef. I am lucky to have grown-up as a beneficiary of her cooking and an apprentice to her skills. She is modest when this is brought up but don’t let her fool you. How many nights do you deliver a dinner that consists of a protein, starch, vegetable and salad… all coming out of the oven at the same moment, rendering a perfectly cooked meal that is served hot? Gigi does it most nights of the week, and has been since before I was born. To top it off, they’re always delicious and usually healthy. She’s a fabulous host, and for those who have attended any of our holiday gatherings, they can attest she has some amazing signature dishes. Her Thanksgiving Stuffing is famous. I can’t say this particular dish falls into her healthy category, but it’s so worth it. Do yourself a favor and add this recipe to your family Thanksgiving feast!
- 8-10 Ciabatta Rolls or Whole Wheat Grainy Bread – cubed
- Half a large White Onion, chopped
- 12 large sticks of Celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup+ White wine
- 2 packages Jimmy Dean Regular Pork Sausage
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
- 1-2 cups Chicken Stock
- Fresh Thyme – 6 sprigs+, leaves only
- Fresh Rosemary – 2 sprigs+ chopped
- Fresh Parsley – 4 sprigs+ chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil
- 5 tbsp + Butter
Day Ahead Prep: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl covered with a large towel. Leave on the counter overnight so it can get hard.
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large skillet with olive oil & 2 tablespoons butter, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Break the meat up with a fork while cooking. Once the sausage is cooked, pour it into a large mixing bowl. In the same skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter and then add the chopped onion and celery. Next, add the white wine, garlic, fresh herbs (you can adjust to your liking), salt and pepper. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Don’t let them brown.
Once cooked, pour the celery & onions in with the sausage, then add the bread. Mix well. Slowly pour the chicken stock in the bowl while mixing. You want the bread to get damp but not soggy.
Butter a large baking dish and then pour the stuffing into the pan. Pour a small amount more of the stock into the pan. If desired, place a couple pads of butter on top and season lightly with salt & pepper. Bake loosely covered with tin foil for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the bread starts to brown on top. Serve hot.
*Everything can be made in advance and put in the refrigerator earlier in the day. Don’t add the extra stock though until you are ready to bake. Bake just before serving.