I have a confession to make, I don’t normally love stuffing. (or if you want to get technical, dressing since this made in a pan, not stuffed inside a bird). I have branched out in previous years to cornbread stuffing, which is definitely welcome on my plate at least once per year. This year when The Piggery’s Cranberry Sage sausage became available I set out to make something even a non-stuffing lover could love. The seasonal Cranberry Sage sausage from The Piggery is one of my fall and winter favorites! The savory sage plus sweet and tangy cranberries make this sausage a natural for all things Thanksgiving. It’s also great on it’s own, roasted over a bed of onions. It’s a perfect pair to this rye bread stuffing flecked with just the right amount of kale.
This recipe yields a modest pan-full, so if you’re serving a crowd I’d double it and bake it in a deep 9″x13″ baking dish. If you like your stuffing really soft just keep it covered the whole baking time. I love the way cooking it with the lid off crisps the top of the bread and kale – adding some great texture.
I never cook stuffing inside the turkey, in my opinion (and many chefs agree) it causes the bird to cook unevenly and creates food safety issues. I’ve also found that the turkey cooks much faster on it’s own- you can let the turkey rest and bake off a prepped pan of stuffing while you wait. Check out our video and Easy, Amazing Dry Rub Turkey Recipe.
Rye, Sausage, & Kale Stuffing
1 lb rye bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 lb cranberry sage sausage (available at The Piggery & many retail locations!)
4 kale leaves, stems removed, leaves cut into shreds
1 egg lightly beaten
2 small or 1 large onion, diced
2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
1/2 dry white wine
2 cups turkey or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Toast the bread. Dice the bread into small cubes, about 1/2 inch thick. Place in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and big pinch of salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until crisp and starting to brown. Let cool and place back in the bowl.
Brown the sausage. Remove the sausage from the casings. Heat another tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet and add the sausage to the pan, breaking it up into small crumbles. Cook for about 8 minutes until the sausage is cooked through. Let cool and add to the bowl with the bread cubes.
Cook the vegetables. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan you browned the sausage in (no need to wipe out the pan), and cook the onions over medium heat until they’re soft and starting to turn golden. Add the kale to the pan and cover for 5 minutes to wilt the kale. Remove the lid, stir the onions and kale together and cook uncovered for about 5 additional minutes until the kale is softened and starting to darken. It will continue to cook in the oven.
Mix the ingredients together. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the bread cubes and sausage. Add the stock to the bowl and toss the mixture until all of the stock is absorbed. Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat. Fold the egg into the bread mixture.
Bake the stuffing. Transfer the stuffing mixture back to the cast iron pan or into a lightly greased baking dish. Cover with foil or a lid and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.