Garlicky Ciabatta Stuffing

Stuffing is my favorite food, my ultimate last meal, and the highlight of my Thanksgiving dinners. That’s a whole lot of love for a side dish, but a good stuffing can really be the star of a satisfying and hearty meal. Once upon a time, when I first started living on my own, I would whip up a box of Stove Top stuffing for dinner. Looking back, that’s pretty appalling, but I loved it.

What’s pretty surprising is that making stuffing from scratch isn’t exactly complicated, so there’s no excuse for reaching for the Stove Top or waiting for Thanksgiving next time you want to make some. The key to a delicious stuffing starts with bread. I like to use ciabatta because of the shape; each cube of bread should still have a little bit of crust on it which enhances the texture. You could also use a good sourdough bread or even make a corn bread stuffing which is another favorite of mine.

You may notice that I did not actually stuff anything, but baked this as a casserole. How you prepare it is up to you, and you’ll only get more flavor if you take it one step further and use this to stuff a turkey. Although I served this alongside some leftover pork and some sautéed spinach, the stuffing really held its own and could have been the whole meal; I actually had to remind Nick to eat everything else on the table.

Garlicky Ciabbata Stuffing

  • 1/2 loaf garlic ciabatta bread
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage or Spanish chorizo
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 scallions, finely sliced

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Cut the bread into 1/2″ cubes and spread out on a cookie sheet. You should have enough bread to cover the cookie sheet completely but not so much that the bread is stacked on top of each other. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes until it is very dry. Alternatively, you can buy the bread a few days ahead of time and wait for it to get a bit stale on its own and proceed right to the next step.

Turn the oven up to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and add it to the ban making sure to break up the meat as much as possible. Cook the sausage until most of the fat has rendered out and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Saute the vegetables in the sausage fat and season them with plenty of salt and pepper. Once the veggies are soft, add them to the bowl.

Mix in the bread with the vegetables and sausage until everything is well combined. Add the chicken stock and the white wine to moisten the bread. Your stuffing should not be too wet but also not too dry. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish and top it with the scallions. Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes and serve.

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