Sausage and Herb Stuffing (conventional and combi steam oven versions)

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I’ve always made extra stuffing when I do a roast dinner, cooking the bit which won’t fit inside my turkey or chicken in a separate dish. After all, there’s never enough stuffing in the bird to satisfy everyone, and the crispy top of the pan-baked version is the real prize anyway.

A while back, after one too many roast dinners where the meat was overcooked by the time the stuffing inside was cooked through, I gave up on stuffing the bird altogether and now I just make it this way: baked into a glorious, chunky, stand-alone savoury dish. It’s the ideal side dish to a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and a great counterpoint to your vegetable side dishes. If you’re like me, though, you’ll be just as happy eating it as a simple weeknight dinner, without the turkey, chicken or other sides. A vinaigrette-dressed green salad will bring a bit of freshness to your plate and you’re all set.

I bake stuffing in my combi steam oven, which cooks it faster and doesn’t require as much liquid to keep it moist and soft. It’s just as good in a conventional oven, though, so I’ve given directions here for both, with variations for oven settings and the amount of liquid you’ll have to add to the dish.

 Step by step images for making sausage and herb stuffing.

What goes into the best stuffing?

As with so many things, great ingredients going in will produce a great dish coming out. Don’t treat your stuffing as an afterthought to the main event.

If you’re going to go to the effort of making it, use decent sausage meat and fresh herbs, and, if it’s your thing, elevate the dish to the next level with some dried fruit or chopped nuts. The extra effort will be worth it and if it’s anything like at my house, people will talk about the stuffing as much as they talk about your gorgeous roasted bird.

It’s not all highbrow gourmet here, though. Stuffing is a great way to make leftovers and humble ingredients go a long way, and stale bread is one of the key ingredients. Where the flavour of your sausage meat is going to shine through in your stuffing, bread plays an excellent supporting role and you can get away with literally using up scraps here. I keep leftover ends of stale bread in the freezer and used three different types in the pictured dish – white and wholemeal soft sandwich bread and some crusty ciabatta. The more stale the better, and if anything, those different odds and ends make the dish more interesting colour and texture-wise once everything is cooked together.

Can you make stuffing ahead of time?

Not only can you prepare your stuffing ahead of time, it’s actually better when it’s had a chance to sit overnight. All the flavours have a chance to really meld together, and the bread will soak up the broth and become pillowy soft. I like to completely prepare and cook the dish the day before it’s needed, so it’s a simple reheat job when you want to serve.

If you’d like to freeze your stuffing, you can prepare it up to the point of putting in the baking dish, and freeze the whole dish, well covered, for up to a few weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook it in your steam oven or regular oven when you’re ready to serve.

I hope you’ll try this stuffing on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. It’s the perfect partner to my steamed and roasted turkey recipe, and to these green beans with almonds. All you need is a dish of mashed potatoes to round things out and you’ll have the most amazing festive meal (if you really want to go to town in the kitchen, follow it all up with a silky, creamy steamed pumpkin cheesecake for the ultimate indulgence).

Happy cooking, see you here again soon.

 Baked sausage and herb stuffing in a round pan, on a marble counter with gray napkin.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Sausage and Herb Stuffing

You’ll never stuff a bird again once you discover pan-baked stuffing. Cooked in a combi steam or conventional oven, sausage and herb stuffing is crispy-topped and so good I could skip the turkey altogether.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: oven baked stuffing, sausage and herb stuffing, stuffing, stuffing cooked in steam oven
Servings: 10
Calories: 459kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb stale bread cut into 2.5cm/1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb good quality fresh pork sausage casings removed
  • 3 oz unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 sprigs parsley finely chopped (include the stalks)
  • 1 sprig sage leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme leaves picked and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth/stock use 2 cups for combi steam, or full quantity for conventional oven
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3.5 oz dried cranberries or apricots, pitted prunes, walnuts or pecans (or a mixture of a couple of those), chopped

Instructions

Combi Steam Oven Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F, fan forced/convection setting (no steam). Grease either a 30cm/12 inch round or a 22 x 30cm (9 x 12 inch) rectangular baking dish and set aside. Have a second large baking pan ready (no need to grease this one).
  • Put bread in a single layer on the second pan and cook until toasted but not too browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven at the same temperature but change the setting to combination steam. If your oven has variable steam settings, use 50% here (if not, don’t worry! Just select combination/convection steam at the correct temperature, and your oven will sort out the amount of steam).
  • While the bread toasts, heat the oil in a frypan over medium heat. Cook the sausage meat until browned all over, breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add the butter, onions, celery, garlic, herbs and pepper to the meat. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Tip the meat mixture into the bowl with the bread, then pour in the stock (2 cups) and egg. Mix everything together well until all the liquid has been absorbed by the bread.
  • Put the stuffing into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly to the edges. Cook until it’s golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Conventional Oven Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F, fan forced/convection setting. Grease either a 30cm/12 inch round or a 22 x 30cm (9 x 12 inch) rectangular baking dish and set aside. Have a second large baking pan ready (no need to grease this one).
  • Put bread in a single layer on the second pan and cook until toasted but not too browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl.
  • While the bread toasts, heat the oil in a frypan over medium heat. Cook the sausage meat until browned all over, breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add the butter, onions, celery, garlic, herbs and pepper to the meat. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Tip the meat mixture into the bowl with the bread, then pour in the stock (3 cups) and egg. Mix everything together well until all the liquid has been absorbed by the bread.
  • Put the stuffing into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly to the edges. Cook until it’s golden brown all over, about 35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Notes

  1. The ingredients in this recipe are very adaptable. You can change up the flavours and texture by choosing different types of sausages or bread, and swapping the herbs for others that take your fancy. If the sausages you use are very garlicky, I would advise you to cut down on the fresh garlic a little.
  2. I’ve given an option to add different dried fruits and nuts in the ingredients. Apricots and pecans are my favourite but cranberries are also great and they’ll keep with festive tradition at this time of year.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1036mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2.6mg

Over to you – if you try this recipe I’d love to know about it! Please share your pictures with me on Facebook or tag them #whatsinthesteamoven on Instagram.

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