Did you catch my error in the title of this post? Well, if you know the difference between “dressing” and “stuffing”, you’d probably notice I should have called this recipe Sausage Cranberry Pecan Dressing, rather than Sausage Cranberry Pecan Stuffing. The difference between “stuffing” and “dressing” is that the first is stuffed inside the turkey to cook, where the second is baked separately.
I’m not a big fan of “stuffing” my Turkey, for a few reasons.
1. In order to comply with safe food handling, the stuffing and bird need to reach a temp about 165 degrees F. By the time your stuffing (stuffed inside the bird) reaches that temp it’s probably over cooked. Which leads to my second point.
2. I just think it tastes a lot better and fresher cooked separately.
Even though this recipe is technically a Thanksgiving “dressing” recipe we always called it stuffing. It’s more common by the name isn’t it? I guess it depends on where you grew up.
In my experience, people really either LOVE stuffing, or HATE it. I’m obviously in the lovers category. Me and Thanksgiving stuffing go way back. It’s the first thing on my plate I devour every year.
This version has little bits of Italian sausage, celery, cranberries, onions and pecans–YUM. It’s unbelievably easy to make, AND you can make it in advance. Prepare it the day before Thanksgiving, cover and refrigerate, and bake just before you’re ready to eat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13'' pan.
Add crumbled sausage into a large casserole frying pan over medium heat.
Brown for 2-3 minutes, breaking into small pieces, and then add the celery, onions and garlic.
Cook until onions are translucent and then stir in the mushrooms and grated apple. Cook for 1-2 minutes and add the cubed stuffing mix.
Toss to combine. Slowly add the chicken broth and toss to combine. Fold in pecans and cranberries.
Transfer mixture to prepared 9x13'' pan and cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
*You could also make your own cubed, seasoned breadcrumbs and use about 3 ½ cups *To make in advance: make the entire recipe up until you pour everything into the 9x13'' pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Bake the next day, according to directions. Adapted from Our Best Bites