Martha’s Sausage Pear Stuffing

Thanksgiving is slowly becoming one of my favorite holidays. Especially in California where the dishes get healthier and more creative every year. (This year set the bar high with lamb meatballs, curried mushroom bruschetta with goat cheese and pomegranate cranberry relish.) I may not be breaking new ground with this recipe but it’s damn good. 

I make a lot of healthy recipes on The Plate. I wouldn’t call this one of them. Regardless I’ve been eating this for the past 3 Thanksgivings because it has everything you want in a stuffing. Fruity, savory, crunchy, bready… I followed Martha Stewart’s recipe + lemon juice and red pepper flakes. 

There are only two hard things about this recipe: Keeping up the stamina to chop all of the ingredients, and finding a large enough pot to mix everything together (without a sizable percentage ending up on the ground). 

This stuffing deserves to get made more than once a year. I might just have to make it again to give it the attention it deserves – not take a backseat to some stupid turkey. Plus I have a second fennel bulb I need to do something with…

Gratitude Journal Entry: I’m grateful Friendsgiving is a thing. It turns strangers into family. I met one of my best friends at Friendsgiving 3 years ago. And this year, my mom got to celebrate her birthday with a bunch of new and old friends – candle in a piece of pie and everything.  

Sausage Pear Stuffing
1 loaf day-old rustic break, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 large onions, chopped
2 small leeks, sliced (about 3 cups)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, chopped 
3 firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears, chopped
course sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
2 cups turkey or chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisped but not golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool. In a 14-inch straight-sided skillet (or 2 large skillets), melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, leeks, celery, fennel, and pears; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and pears are softened and start to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in rosemary and sage.
  • Meanwhile, cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally and breaking into large crumbles, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Stir into vegetable mixture, then transfer to a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss well. Drizzle stock over mixture, add eggs and parsley, and toss to combine well. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use 10 cups stuffing to fill bird; place remainder in a buttered 8-inch-square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and top is browned, 40 to 45 minutes.

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