Sausage Herb Dressing with dried cranberries

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Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without dressing to go with the turkey.  While some prefer to stuff it in the cavity while the bird cooks, hence the name stuffing, I prefer to cook it separately.  I find the turkey cooks more evenly and the dressing crisps up on the top yet remains moist inside.

Now I know many people will be grabbing boxes of Mrs. Cubbison’s and doctoring it up, but really – how hard is it to cube bread and toast it a little.  The difference in flavor is night and day; one tastes like cardboard (not that I’m an afficianado of cardboard) and the other like bread.  This dressing gets it’s amazing flavor from sausage, fresh sage and thyme, cranberries and some port wine.  It’s a family favorite and hopefully will be yours too.  Enjoy!

I started by dicing up 1 1/2 large onions, 4 ribs of celery and mincing 6 garlic cloves.

I chopped up 1 tablespoon of thyme and 3 tablespoons of sage and set them aside.  I also peeled and diced 1 granny smith apple and cut a loaf of day old Sheepherders bread into 1 inch cubes(any sturdy white bread will do).  I toasted the bread cubes on 2 sheet pans in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to dry them out.

While the bread was toasting, I added a little olive oil to a large fry pan over medium high heat and cooked 16 ounces of sage breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean) until browned about 8 minutes, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, then removed it and let it drain on paper towels.

I added 2 tablespoons butter to the same pan over medium heat then dumped in the onion, celery and garlic- cooking for about 8 minutes until softened.  I added the apple along with the sage and thyme letting it cook for another 2 minutes then removed it from the heat and let it cool some.

In a large bowl I added the toasted bread cubes, cooked sausage and cooked vegetables along with 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, 1/2 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup dried cranberries, then tossed to combine.  I stirred in 1/3 cup melted butter, then mixed together 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup tawny port wine and 1 beaten egg and stirred that into the mix.  I finished by seasoning with salt and pepper.  I greased a 4 qt baking dish with butter (my pan was 9 3/4″ x 12″ x 2 1/2″) then spooned the mixture into the pan.  I covered it with foil and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes then removed the foil and baked another 20 minutes.

And this is was the result.  This is seriously good stuff!  Enjoy!

Sausage Herb Dressing with dried cranberries
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This dressing just might steal the show from your turkey. The savory sausage and herbs marry perfectly with the sweet, tart cranberries and moist bread.
Serves: 10
  • 1 loaf(about 18-20oz) of sheepherders bread or any sturdy white loaf cut into 1" cubes
  • 16 ounce breakfast sausage with sage (Jimmy Dean)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ onions diced (4 cups)
  • 4 ribs celery diced (1½ cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup tawny port wine
  • 1 beaten egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • butter for greasing pan
  1. Toast the bread cubes on 2 sheet pans in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to dry them out then remove to cool.
  2. While the bread is toasting, drizzle a little olive oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Discard most of the fat. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic cooking for 8 minutes until softened. Add the apple, thyme, sage and cracked red pepper cooking for 2 more minutes then let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl combine the toasted bread, sausage, onion/celery mix, dried cranberries and parsley. Add the melted butter and toss. Stir the chicken stock, tawny port and beaten egg together then add to the mix and toss. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Grease a 4 qt baking dish (approx 12'x 10"x2½") with butter then spoon the dressing into it. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil, stir the dressing up and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.









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