Turkey is great; gravy, brussels, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole – all great. But the stuffing? I swear I could just eat 2 plates of mom’s stuffing and nothing else on Thanksgiving and call it good. My mom makes the best effing stuffing on the planet. She only makes it once a year on Thanksgiving because it’s so deliciously sinful. It all starts where many awesome recipes begin, with pork fat. For those confused about the difference between stuffing and dressing; stuffing goes into the bird and dressing is made outside of the bird. My mom is a bird-stuffer so this recipe is for stuffing. I’m sure you could put it in a casserole dish and maybe pour some butter overtop and bake it covered at 350 for 20-30 minutes or so if you need it t0 be crispy, but this stuffing is meant to be flavored by the fat of turkey drippings melded with pork sausage. She makes the stuffing the night before and then stuffs it into the bird the following morning before roasting. Her turkey is always perfect and the stuffing always moist and flavorful (thanks again turkey drippings, pork fat and chicken stock). My only advice if you go the stuff-the-bird route is: make sure the stuffing is ALSO brought to room temperature before you pack your bird with it.
First things first, get your pork cooking. Take a non-stick skillet and cook the pork over medium heat, breaking it into the smallest pieces possible. Once fully browned, remove pork from skillet, reserve pork fat juices, and place pork into your largest bowl, allowing it to cool. Take the chopped onions and celery and sauté in leftover pan pork fat drippings until onions are translucent and celery is softened. Using your hands, break cooled pork sausage down into the smallest bits possible.
Add the onion and celery to the pork bowl. You home smells particularly delicious by this point. You are welcome.
You can totally use yet still the same pan and over medium heat, melt the butter into the chicken stock. Dump the Pepperidge Farm (if you have dried out bread of course you can use 14 ounces of that, but then remember you’ll also need to figure out the herb-i-licious seasoning. This is how mom does it and I do not deviate!) stuffing mix into the sausage bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly pour the chicken stock butter mixture overtop the stuffing, until all the moisture is absorbed.
Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge overnight. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, please be sure to bring the stuffing to room temperature before cramming it into your bird. If you want to re-warm it the next day, place bowl in microwave with a wetted paper towel overtop of it. Zap for a few minutes, stir, fluff with a fork and zap for more minutes as necessary.
Connie’s Amazing Pork Sausage Stuffing
Prep time: 35 minutes
Stand time: overnight in fridge
Serves: 6-8 people
- 1 lb ground pork sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
- 2 sticks of celery, diced small
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet vidalia onion
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bag pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing
- 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
- In a non-stick skillet, cook pork sausage until well browned. Leave drippings but remove browned pork sausage and set aside in a large bowl to cool.
- Sauté the onions and celery in the leftover pork fat drippings.
- Break down the cooled pork sausage, using your hands to ensure it is in small crumbles.
- Add the onion and celery mixture to the pork sausage bowl.
- In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter with chicken stock.
- Pour stuffing mix into sausage bowl and slowly drizzle the melted chicken stock butter overtop, stirring until well combined.
- Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before serving or cover and place in the fridge overnight.