When it comes to Thanksgiving stuffing, its hard to get a more classic flavor combination than sausage and pecans. The result is a salty, nutty, sweet, crunchy and tender combination of flavors and textures. For simplicity, we bake our stuffing in a side dish, but you could use it to stuff the bird, too. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time and make sure the interior temperature reaches a safe 165 F.
But if a mess of children will be dining with you this year whether you own, borrow or merely tolerate them you might consider going cheesy. A simpler but no less satisfying recipe will be easier on their palates and your patience.
The recipe for cheese-laced stuffing isnt dumbed down in flavor, but it is easy enough for you to assemble from scratch while also refereeing the little ones playing hide and seek under the holiday table.
SAUSAGE PECAN STUFFING
Start to finish: 1 hour; servings: 8
12 ounces loose Italian sausage meat (hot or sweet)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
12-ounce bag seasoned stuffing cubes
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a large casserole dish or 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large skillet medium-high heat, saute the sausage meat, breaking it up as it cooks and browns, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and black pepper. Cook for another 6 to 8 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.
In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture with the pecans and stuffing cubes. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then whisk in the broth. Pour the egg and broth mixture over the stuffing mixture and gently stir to thoroughly mix. Spoon into the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until browned and cooked.
Nutrition per serving: 340 calories; 130 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 16 g protein; 870 mg sodium.
Start to finish: 45 minutes (15 minutes active); servings: 10
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken or turkey broth
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
1 large loaf (about 18 to 20 ounces) stale bread (such as challah), torn into pieces and lightly toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 350 F. Spray a large casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened and the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the flour and stir to coat. Stir in the milk, then the broth. Stir continuously and bring up to a simmer, cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the torn bread into the mixture, then spoon into the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Nutrition per serving: 340 calories; 150 calories from fat 44 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 15 g protein; 590 mg sodium.