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Cookbook guru Julia Turshen doesn’t take Thanksgiving food lightly, especially this amazingly moist and crunchy sheet-pan stuffing with sausage and spinach from her cookbook Now & Again.
“Since stuffing rarely appears separate from Thanksgiving, it’s an inherently nostalgic and meaningful dish,” Turshen says in the cookbook. “I bake my stuffing on a sheet pan so the crispy-to-soft ratio is basically one to one. If you prefer it softer, bake it in a smaller vessel like a baking dish.”
And if you’d like to prep ahead? Make the stuffing mixture, spread it out on the sheet pan and refrigerate, tightly wrapped, for up to one day until you’re ready to bake it (and experience the best stuffing you’ve ever had).
David Loftus/Now& Again
1¼ pounds country bread or sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 9 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian fennel sausages, casings removed
2 yellow onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
12 large fresh sage leaves, tough stems discarded, minced
1½ cups chicken or turkey stock
One 10-ounce package frozen spinach—defrosted, squeezed dry and roughly chopped
2 large handfuls fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, finely diced
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and toast, stirring now and then, until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set the bread aside to cool. You can skip this step if you use stale bread.
2. Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage and cook, stirring now and then, until all the fat is rendered and the meat is crisp and browned, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the onions, celery, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the vegetables, stirring now and then, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the sage and stock, and increase the heat to high. Once the mixture is at a boil, turn off the heat. Stir in the spinach, parsley and reserved bread. Taste the mixture and season with salt if more is needed. Add the eggs and give everything one good final stir.
5. Line the sheet pan you toasted the bread on with parchment paper. Transfer the stuffing to the pan and spread it into an even layer. Dot the top with the butter. Bake until the top is browned and the edges are nice and crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.