Don’t ya love the photo? It’s taken with my Droid. Thankfully the Droid pics won’t last long, I will be borrowing a camera from my in-laws. I do apologize for the photos that will be posted this week. Now onto the food…
Welcome to Thanksgiving week! If you are looking for a new stuffing for your Thanksgiving dinner, look no further. I found this recipe last year and fell in love with it. When I was a kid I was not a stuffing fan. At the dinner table I would put some on my plate, just to be nice, but would eat around it. Then one day I tasted stuffing with sausage and that opened up my eyes. I decided to search for the best stuffing I could find. This Italian style stuffing comes pretty darn close! How can you go wrong with fresh Italian bread, sausage and fennel? If you have never tried fennel, it has a liquorice smell and flavor. It also goes great with fish. The fennel is my favorite ingredient in the stuffing.
The original recipe doesn’t mention baking the stuffing, but using it as a turkey stuffer. Personally, I don’t like stuffing the bird with stuffing. Turkey should be stuffed with herbs, onions, lemons, garlic, salt and pepper. That helps give the turkey more flavor. What I like to do is after the stuffing is all mixed up, place it into a baking dish and bake it for about 45 minutes. Comes out perfect! I did omit the red pepper due to my husband not being able to eat it. It wasn’t missed, but I’m sure it would taste just fine with it in.
Italian Style Stuffing with Sausage and Fennel:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound sweet ltalian sausage, their casings removed
- 2 small heads fennel, cut into ½-inch dice (3 cups)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
- 10 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound day-old, crusty Italian or French bread with a firm crumb, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 cups)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1½ cups Turkey Stock, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Add the fennel and onion to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat. Add the bell pepper and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom juices evaporate and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and vegetables.
- Add the bread cubes, Parmesan, and rosemary. Stir in enough stock to moisten the cornbread, about 1½ cups. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Place in baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown.
Source: Cookstr from Rick Rodgers