Thanksgiving – Sausage Ciabatta dressing

Sitting at the island this morning perusing some recipe magazines and tearing out things I must try or at least would like to try some day. I am pretty sure I have a 3” binder full of these recipes that I want to try some day. Maybe today is the day!

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Thanksgiving is coming up pretty quickly and the staples will always be on my table, turkey of course, though personally I like chicken better.Mashed potatoes because if we didn’t I am fairly certain my daughter would revolt; pitch a fit and make everyone wait while she runs into the kitchen to make them. I can say with some certainty she could and has eaten mashed potatoes for several days in a row. When she was getting her wisdom teeth out, I asked her what she would like on hand to eat.The only thing I remember her asking me for was mashed potatoes. Sorry getting off track here.

I have always loved turnip as does my father-in-law; so many opinions on that one! We had a bumper crop of butternut squash this year so that is a definite.Then you have to throw in something green. I personally like frozen baby sweet peas; yes Mom I said it out for the world to hear; no taking it back now.

I usually make my own rolls (last year we had no power so no oven) and dressing aka stuffing. I don’t care to stuff my birds so it is dressing at my house.

I can’t recall ever having sweet potatoes with marsh mellows or the staple green bean casserole at my childhood dinner table so I have never made them and I really don’t have an interest – sorry everybody! I did just find a carrot sweet potato casserole recipe that looks promising. I have no problem trying something new; it will either work or it won’t but there is so many other things on the table that I feel confident that no one will leave the table hungry and what a better place to get a lot of peoples opinion on the subject.

In one of the magazines I was looking at the editors letter title made me chuckle! Secrets and Pies; basically people trying to take short cuts and cast them off as their own homemade. I don’t feel the need to hide my shortcuts. Hey I think we all could use a little extra help; especially trying to pull off a big dinner party for many family and friends.

My big help is pumpkin pie, I use frozen pie crust and canned pumpkin pie filling and I don’t hide it! My husband is a pretty funny guy; he likes his cookies fresh made only and his pumpkin pie thin and cheap hahaha!

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Potato masher does the trick really well

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I was hesitant using fennel – totally not a black licorice fan but worth a try – trust me!

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It has taken me a several tries to find a dressing recipe that everyone agrees on; this one is a keeper. I did blog about last year but I felt it bears repeating plus I gave it to you too late for Thanksgiving last year but maybe if you are looking for something new to try you might want to check it out this year.

Sausage Ciabatta Dressing

Your favorite Olive Oil for the pan
1 lb of your favorite Italian sausage – casing removed crumbled and browned
1 medium onion – diced
1 bulb fennel also called anise – sliced thin, fronds reserved
1 cup of chestnuts – I found them already cooked and peeled – brilliant
2 apples – I used granny smiths – peeled and diced
5 cups ciabatta bread cubed and toasted – I toasted them in a pan on the stove top
¼ cup fresh parsley – chopped
2 ½ cups chicken stock
½ melted butter

Add oil to the pan, crumble the sausage and cook till the sausage starts to brown, add the onion, fennel, chestnuts, apples and cook. Stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through

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In a large bowl, place the cubed bread and pour the cooked sausage mixture over the top. Sprinkle with parsley, and pour the stock and melted butter; toss to combine.

In a 9×13 baking dish place all ingredients in and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake until the top is golden browned and crisp. Serve garnished with some of the fennel fronds.

recipe adapted from Mario Batali’s Sausage Ciabatta Stuffing

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