People are very, very loyal to their stuffings.
I learned that the hard way once (insert story about me gravely offending an entire group of people as I obliviously bagged on icky, soggy stuffing for, like, 4 1/2 minutes). It’s pretty obvious that I don’t like soggy stuffing. Or soggy anything, really. It kind of creeps me out.
I’m more in the camp of: soft and tender stuffing with some crunchy, croutony bits on top. I know that’s not necessarily a popular Thanksgiving opinion what with classic stuffing often being packed into the bird and all and baking up very, very, very soft.
But the fabulous news about stuffing (especially homemade) is that the bones of a recipe is what makes it a winner. The spices and flavors and aromatics and vegetables and add-ins and bread.
If you have that in place, it’s usually as simple as adding more or less liquid depending on how…I almost said icky and soggy but I’m trying to be mature here…soft you want it.
I decided shortly after last Thanksgiving that while I very much love this classic, delicious stuffing, I wanted to change it up a bit with pretzel rolls and sausage.
Because yes, I’m the one already plotting next year’s dinner before the current Thanksgiving spread is all the way devoured.
This reinvented stuffing is fantastic and everything I hoped it would be after dreaming about it for 11 months. Those chewy little bites of pretzel rolls (storebought or homemade ) make me so very happy, especially the crunchy ones right on top. With the tender vegetables and yummy sausage, there’s just a lot to love here.
And just so you know, no matter how you like your stuffing, I still love you. There’s room in this world for all of us (even for those that don’t like stuffing at all, the horror).
I’ll be continuing to share some favorite classic and a few unique Thanksgiving dishes over the next few weeks. Let the Thanksgiving dinner planning begin! (Or, in some cases, let’s pretend that the planning didn’t start last year.)
One Year Ago: Melting Roasted Potatoes
Two Years Ago: Apple Crumb Pie
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread with Vanilla Glaze
Storebought pretzel rolls work here (I've used the ones from Costco) but if you want to earn extra rock star points, these homemade soft pretzel rolls are utterly divine.
The broth amount listed in this recipe yields a firm stuffing that is not overly soft. If you like your stuffing, ahem, a little more soggy, up the chicken broth as needed (for every 3/4 cup of chicken broth, add another egg).
For make-ahead options, the bread cubes can be toasted a day or so in advance; let them cool completely and store at room temperature in a ziploc bag or other airtight container. The bread/vegetable/sausage mixture can also be prepped several hours (and quite possibly up to a day) in advance and placed in the prepared 9X13-inch baking pan (refrigerated until needed) so that before baking, all that needs to be done is pouring the egg/broth mixture over the top.
- 10 cups soft pretzel roll cubes, about 8 average-sized pretzel rolls (see note above)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 stalks celery, small diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 medium carrots, small diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium onion, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 pound chicken or other lean sausage
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note above)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pretzel cubes evenly in a large, rimmed baking sheet (use two if needed to get a single layer). Toast the pretzel roll pieces until just lightly golden (they shouldn't be rock hard), flipping once or twice, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, garlic and poultry seasoning. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley, sage and thyme. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the pretzel cubes.
- Return the skillet to the heat and cook the sausage with a pinch of salt and pepper, crumbling it into bite-size pieces as it cooks. Once it has cooked all the way through, drain any excess grease and add the crumbled sausage to the bowl with the vegetables and pretzel pieces.
- In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the eggs and broth until well-combined.
- Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Give the pretzel/vegetable/sausage mixture a good stir and spread it evenly in the prepared baking pan. Pour the broth mixture evenly over the top. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the bread is soft and tender and lightly golden on the top.
- Serve warm.
Recipe Source: adapted from my favorite classic stuffing recipe