Turkey is supposed to be the star of the show on Thanksgiving, but this stuffing (or dressing, depending on where you’re from) will be what your family talks about until you make it again next year. Why? Bacon and sausage, that’s why.
A fun twist on a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe
A number of years ago, I hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner for twelve friends and family in my 1,000-square foot apartment in the city. I’d thrown my share of dinner parties and get-togethers, but none of those offered the same crushing intimidation as the biggest food holiday of the year. I was single with two dogs and my kitchen was divided into two rooms (yes, really) – one room with the fridge, the dog bowls and the metal shelves full of appliances and one room containing the oven and stove, the dishwasher, and the sink in a line down one wall. I had no counter space and the dining room was up the hall, but I had gusto, and sometimes that’s all you need.
I worked on my menu daily until I figured out something that resembled a delicious meal worthy of elastic pants, seconds and familial acclaim. I tried to save some time, hassle and space on my makeshift buffet table by preparing a few dishes in individual servings, hoping it might reduce the which-way-do-I-pass-the-stuffing conversations. (It did.) I served individual stuffings that I baked in a muffin tin; if I’d had a toaster oven at the time, I would have baked them there to save space in my cramped main oven. Dinner was a Herculean success and a wild disaster, but everyone loved the stuffing. It was the perfect portion for each person, and leftovers were effortless for each guest to carry home. Here’s the recipe for our savory stuffing muffins, or “stuffins,” loosely inspired by that crazy Thanksgiving dinner years ago.
- 1 package (8 oz.) corn muffin mix, baked, crumbled
- 1 package (16 oz.) Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing
- 1/2 pound bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 package (19 oz.) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 ribs celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease muffin tin; set aside.
- In a very large bowl, combine stuffing mix and cornbread; set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Add bacon and drippings to stuffing.
- Place sausage in skillet. Cook until browned. Add sausage and drippings to stuffing.
- In another skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onion and celery until just starting to become translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until tender.
- Add onion, celery, mushrooms, butter, sage, salt and pepper to stuffing. Stir to combine.
- Stir in enough chicken broth to make stuffing moist.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture in each muffin cup.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until muffins are browned and crisp.