Bacon and Sausage Stuffing
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, this stuffing is so delicious that I always get asked for the recipe. Of turkey is your meal, dressing (or stuffing) is your most important side. And best of all, this recipe makes a large amount, so you have enough for leftovers. Cook some in the turkey, and the remainder in a crock pot or slow cooker. Perfectly seasoned and moist, this has been our family favorite for years.
Start by chopping half a pound of bacon. If your Italian sausage is in links, squeeze the meat out and throw the casings away. Fry the two together on medium heat, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Cook till the sausage is lightly browned, and the bacon is cooked, but not crisp. Remove the meat to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Drain all but about 1 Tbsp fat from the pan.
Next chop the onion and celery. Saute them in the same fry pan on med heat until limp and transparent.
You will need one bag of plain bread crumbs or cubes, and one box of your favorite stuffing mix. I usually buy a larger box like Mrs. Cubbison’s or Brownberry, but this time all I could find was Uncle Ben’s. It was fine. Dump them into an extra large bowl, and add the cooked meats and vegetables. Then you will add all of your spices. I break up the fennel seed in a small mortar and pestle, but I have also done it with the bottom of the spice bottle.
My Mom used to fry the bread crumbs and spices all together in a big electric frying pan, and I started out doing it that way, but I found that it really didn’t add any extra flavour that way, and just made clean up more difficult, so now I just dump in all into the bowl together and mix it up. Once it’s cooked, it all tastes the same anyway.
Put the mushroom soup in the bowl and break up with a large spoon. Then pour 3 cups of chicken broth or stock over the crumbs, about a cup at a time, and mix it all up well after each addition. Each bread cube may not be evenly moistened at this point, but once it’s cooked it will be.
Stuffing the turkey is one of my least favorite things to do. Lucky for me, Steve doesn’t mind, so that is his job. (Had to tell you just in case you thought I had really big and hairy hands. lol!) If you don’t have enough skin to cover the stuffing, put a piece of foil over the stuffing to keep it from drying out. To see how to cook the turkey, check out this post.
The turkey never is able to hold all of the stuffing from this recipe, so the rest goes into the crock pot. It’s a great way to cook the remainder of the stuffing without it getting burned or dried out in the process. Depending on the size of your crock pot, it may need anywhere from 2 to 4 hours on high. In a large crock pot, the stuffing will only fill it half way, so it will only take 2 hours. In a smaller crock pot where the stuffing fills it up to the top, the stuffing will need to cook longer, about 3 to 4 hours. The stuffing should be hot all the way through. I often cut off the wing tips of the turkey and lay them over the extra stuffing so that it also gets some taste of the turkey. But because I take the stuffing out of the bird after it’s done and mix it into the crock pot stuffing, the taste is good anyway, so this is another step that is optional. You can serve the stuffing right out of the crock pot liner.
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Bacon and Sausage Stuffing
This stuffing is so delicious that I always get asked for the recipe. The recipe makes enough for leftovers. Cook some in the turkey, and the remainder in a crock pot or slow cooker. Perfectly seasoned and moist, this has been our family favorite for years.
- ½ pound bacon, diced
- ½ pound mild Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 – 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 can cream of mushroon soup
- 1 box Brownberry Sage & Onion (or your favorite) stuffing mix
- 1 bag coarse dry bread cubes (3 – 4 cups, about 340 grams)
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp fennel seed, broken up by crushing with a mortar & pestle
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp sage
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 ½ to 3 cups chicken broth or stock
- Fry bacon and sausage together, breaking up sausage, until bacon is cooked but not crisp. Remove meat from frypan, and drain all but 1 Tbsp of the grease.
- In same frypan, saute onion and celery until limp and transparent.
- Turn meat and vegetables into an extra-large bowl. Add soup and break up with a spoon.
- Add stuffing mix, bread crumbs and spices and mix well.
- Pour broth over while stirring mixture to evenly moisten.
- Let sit in a cool place until you are ready to stuff the turkey: at least an hour, or overnight, to combine flavors. Stuff turkey just before roasting.
- Remainder of stuffing can be cooked in a crock pot. Spray liner with vegetable oil first to prevent sticking, then fill with stuffing. I like to cut the wing tips off of the turkey and lay them on top of the stuffing in the crock pot to add flavor and moisture. Cook on high for 3 – 4 hours. Discard turkey wing tips and mix with the stuffing from the turkey before serving.
- If you have someone in your family who hates fennel seeds, here’s what to do. Don’t omit them as they are essential to the flavour of this stuffing. Instead, break them up well with a mortar and pestle, add 1 cup chicken broth and heat in microwave until boiling. Let sit until cooled, then pour through a strainer to strain out seeds. Use this as one of the cups of broth in the recipe to moisten the crumbs. You will get the taste of the fennel seed without actually having the seeds in the stuffing.
- If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just pile the seeds into a small bowl and use the bottom of the spice bottle to crush them and break them up. I did this for years before I finally decided to buy a mortar and pestle. It works fine; just takes a little more effort.