My philosophy on Thanksgiving and Christmas is to make everything from scratch and to use all real ingredients. Of course, this does mean that one needs to watch their portion sizes!! But in the spirit of finding healthier alternatives, here is my family recipe for Thanksgiving Stuffing with a healthier alternative to sausage and upgrading the bread to a wheat bread instead of white bread.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 onions (1 pound), cut into ¼-inch dice
- 8 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 5 large fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 2 teaspoons crushed dried sage
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 1 loaf stale wheat bread (about 18 slices), crust on, cut into 1-inch cubes (if not stale, toast in toaster)
- 1 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 pound 95% lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili/pepper flakes
- Dry bread slices out over night, a full 24 hours or more, in lean-to position to get completely stale (see image above).
- Season the ground meat with salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and red chili flakes. Drain meat. This can be done 1 day ahead.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add sage, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add ½-cup stock and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes, until liquid has reduced by half.
- Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add sausage, bread cubes, parsley, eggs, and remaining 2 ½ cups stock; mix to combine.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and hot, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Or stuff into turkey before baking.
Yield: 6 cups