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Sourdough Stuffing with Balsamic-Roasted Red Onions and Sweet Italian Sausage

Anthony Chittum, Vermilion

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1 15 ounce loaf of sourdough bread, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and quartered 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
1 pound Italian sausage, sweet
10 sage leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper, as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, toss the onions with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Spread the coated onions on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  In a large, oven-safe mixing bowl, toss the diced bread with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the bread in the oven and toast until crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes.

While the bread and onions are cooking, set a large sauté pan over high heat and heat the canola oil until it begins to smoke. Add the sausage and cook while crumbling it up with a spoon. When the sausage is completely cooked, remove it from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Discard half of the grease in the pan and save the rest.

Turn the oven to 375 degrees. Once the onions are cooled, roughly chop them to about a half-inch in size. Take the toasted bread, roasted onions, cooked sausage, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining  ingredients and mix together in a large bowl. If cooking inside of a turkey, place the stuffing inside the chest cavity and cook until the turkey is done. If cooking the stuffing separately, place the mix in a large casserole dish, cover with tin foil, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes so that it is slightly crispy on top. Serve hot.