Sausage and Fennel Stuffing

Wedges of fennel and onion meet chunks of sweet Italian sausage in this textural, satisfying stuffing.  A quick homemade sausage laced with red wine and fennel seeds is an optional upgrade for added flavor (see Notes).

Sausage and Fennel Stuffing
Photo: Johhny Miller
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
10

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled

  • 2 small fennel bulbs, cut into 3/4-inch wedges, fronds reserved

  • 2 medium-size red onions, cut into 3/4-inch wedges

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 (1 1/4-pound) sourdough or other rustic boule, torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock or turkey stock

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with butter, and set aside. Place sausage, fennel, onions, and thyme in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake in preheated oven until browned and softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Place bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 375°F until very lightly toasted and dried out, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

  3. Whisk together eggs and chicken stock in a large bowl. Add bread, sausage mixture, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir well. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil; let stand at room temperature 45 minutes.

  4. Bake, covered, at 375°F until heated through, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until lightly browned, about 30 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes; garnish with fennel fronds, and serve.

Notes

DIY Italian Sausage: Combine 1 pound ground pork, 3 tablespoons red wine, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes before using.

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