This Italian sausage stuffing recipe brings you a delightful holiday classic inspired by Italian traditions. In Italy, chestnut stuffing is a cherished part of holiday meals, especially during Christmas. These sausage and chestnut stuffing rolls are a perfect addition to your holiday table. You can make them in advance, freeze, and defrost as needed.
Italian festive dinners are renowned for their elaborate, multi-course structure, often featuring more than one main dish.
In this culinary tradition, these sausage stuffing rolls are typically served as an additional meat course alongside the main entrée.
This approach allows for a variety of flavors and textures, making the meal a true gastronomic experience.
For more insight into how Italians plan their dinner parties, you can read the article: Italian Sunday Dinner: a six meal courses.
In Sicily, raisins are traditionally used in this dish, but I substitute them with cranberries to adapt the stuffing for a Thanksgiving table, blending Italian customs with a classic American holiday flavor.
Featuring the sweetness of chestnuts, the tang of cranberries, and the savoriness of sausage, this perfect stuffing is a family favorite.
Encased in crispy bacon, these stuffing rolls are an excellent complement to roast turkey.
Unlike traditional casseroles, I prefer to prepare them in packs of four, allowing for convenient defrosting of only what's required, leaving the rest for later meals or those hungry moments.
- Sausage: Italian sausage is the heart of this stuffing, and you have options. Mild Italian sausage offers a subtle, savory flavor, while sweet Italian sausage adds a touch of sweetness. Spicy sausage is an excellent choice for those who prefer a more pungent kick. The sausage brings a rich, meaty taste to the stuffing mixture.
- Beef: Freshly minced lean beef adds depth and richness to the stuffing mixture, enhancing its overall meatiness. It pairs wonderfully with the Italian sausage.
- Stale bread: Stale bread cubes are a key component of this recipe, and they play a crucial role in the final dish. They absorb the flavorful mixture of sausage, vegetables, and herbs, creating a moist and textured stuffing. Stale bread is preferred over grocery store breadcrumbs because it provides a better texture and retains its structure during baking. You can buy fresh Italian bread and use it the next day,
- Chestnuts: Cooked and peeled chestnuts contribute a delightful nuttiness and a unique texture to the stuffing. They complement the savory sausage and add a seasonal touch to the dish.
- Cranberries: Even if they are not a classic Italian ingredient, the dry cranberries introduce a burst of tartness and a hint of sweetness, balancing the sausage's and chestnuts' richness. They provide small, chewy pieces that contrast beautifully with the other ingredients. In Sicily they use raisins instead
- Aromatics: Diced carrots, celery, and onions form the aromatic base of the stuffing, infusing it with a savory and slightly sweet vegetable essence.
- Milk: Milk is used to soak the stale bread cubes, ensuring they become soft and moist, ready to absorb the other flavors.
- Egg: A fresh egg binds the stuffing ingredients together, giving the final dish a cohesive texture.
- Cognac: Cognac is the secret ingredient that elevates the stuffing's taste. It imparts a subtle, sophisticated depth of flavor to the dish, making it perfect for special occasions.
- Seasonings: Salt and black pepper are used to season the stuffing, enhancing the overall taste and bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Bacon: Sliced bacon wraps around the stuffing rolls, infusing them with a smoky, salty richness during baking. The bacon also provides a crispy contrast to the tender stuffing inside.
See measurement in the recipe card
- Soak the bread in milk for 30 minutes to an hour until it fully absorbs the milk.
- In a large bowl, combine the soaked bread with the crumble sausage, beef and the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing mix.
- Encase a small ball of filling with a strip of bacon. You can prepare them to freeze in airtight containers or let them rest at room temperature overnight for flavors to meld.
- Arrange the rolls in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 355 F (180 C) and bake the rolls for 30 minutes until they turn golden brown.
- Serve as a delightful side dish or with brussels sprouts and other side dishes.
How to serve them
To serve this delicious recipe, consider pairing it with a mushroom risotto or polenta with porcini for a rich, earthy complement.
A gratin dauphinoise and some roasted vegetables would also make excellent accompaniments.
This dish could easily become a favorite holiday side dish, especially during the holiday season.
It's a great recipe to bring to the Thanksgiving table, offering a new stuffing recipe that may become a family favorite.
Whether it's for a regular Thanksgiving dinner or to stuff turkey, this best sausage stuffing, possibly using regular Italian sausage, is sure to impress your family members.
Don't forget to add a dollop of cranberry sauce for that perfect finishing touch!
Substitutions and Variations
For those looking to customize this recipe, there are several substitutions and variations you can try:
- Sausage: If Italian sausage isn't to your taste or dietary preference, feel free to substitute it with chicken or turkey sausage. Both are excellent alternatives that maintain the dish's savory essence.
- Bread: The type of bread you use can significantly influence the texture and flavor of the stuffing. Sourdough or French bread are great options, offering a sturdy texture and robust flavor. Avoid using white sandwich bread, as it's too soft and can result in a mushy stuffing.
- Fruit Additions: While cranberries provide a tart and festive touch, suitable for a Thanksgiving setting, you can also embrace the traditional Sicilian approach by using raisins. This substitution adds a sweet and rich flavor, reflecting the original Italian recipe.
Storing and Freezing Suggestions
- Refrigerating Leftovers: Store any leftover stuffing rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving to maintain their texture and flavor.
- Freezing for Later Use: These sausage stuffing rolls freeze exceptionally well before cooking them. Wrap each roll individually in aluminum foil or place them in a single layer in a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
- Thawing Instructions: When ready to enjoy, thaw the rolls in the refrigerator overnight. This gradual thawing helps maintain their texture and prevents them from becoming soggy.
- Cooking After Freezing: To cook them, remove any foil or plastic wrap and place the rolls in an oven preheated to 350 F. Bake until they are thoroughly cooked and the exterior is slightly crispy.
- Batch Preparation: Preparing and freezing these rolls in batches is an excellent way to have a quick and delicious meal ready, especially during busy holiday seasons or for unexpected guests.
Recipes you might also like
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- Classic Veal Milanese
- Italian meatloaf polpettone
- Daube Provencal
- Brazilian Picanha BBQ
- Beef Sausage Hand Pie Recipe
- Brioche Sausage Rolls Recipe
- Deep-fried Meatballs
- Homemade Roast Beef
- Beef braciole
More recipes with sausages
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📋 The Best Italian Sausage Stuffing Wrapped in Bacon
- 12 oz freshly minced lean beef
- 12 oz sausage casings removed or minced pork
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1 onion diced
- 3.5 oz stale bread
- 1 cup milk
- 3.5 oz Boiled and peeled chestnuts
- 2.5 oz dry cranberries
- 1 fresh eggs
- 1 cup Cognac
- 2 teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- 21 oz sliced bacon (about 21 slices to use for wrapping)
Making the stuffing
- Steep the bread into milk for 30 minutes/1 hour until the milk is absorbed.3.5 oz stale bread, 1 cup milk
- Mix the rest of the ingredients for the filling with the bread12 oz freshly minced lean beef, 12 oz sausage casings removed, 1 carrot diced, 1 celery stalk diced, 1 onion diced, 3.5 oz Boiled and peeled chestnuts, 2.5 oz dry cranberries, 1 fresh eggs, 1 cup Cognac, 2 teaspoon salt, black pepper
Wrap them in bacon
- Wrap a ball of filling in each bacon strip21 oz sliced bacon
- Either wrap in parcels to freeze, or let them rest overnight so the flavours have time to amalgamate.
- Lay the rolls over a baking tin
- Bake at 355 F - 180 C for 30 minutes.
- Serve with your roast or a risotto
- Bread Selection: Opt for denser bread like sourdough or French bread. Their sturdy texture holds up better during baking and absorbs flavors more effectively.
- Proper Soaking: Ensure the bread is thoroughly soaked in milk but not overly soggy. This step is crucial for achieving the right consistency in your stuffing.
- Quality Sausage: Choose high-quality Italian, chicken, or turkey sausage for the best flavor. The sausage is a key component, so its taste will significantly influence the overall dish.
- Seasoning Balance: Balance your seasonings. If your sausage is heavily spiced, adjust the additional seasonings accordingly to avoid overpowering flavors.
- Even Cooking: Spread the rolls evenly in the baking dish to ensure they cook uniformly. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking.
- Resting Time: If time permits, let the prepared rolls rest before baking. This allows the flavors to meld together, enhancing the overall taste.
- Cranberries vs. Raisins: Choose between cranberries and raisins based on the occasion and your flavor preference. Cranberries add a tartness suitable for Thanksgiving, while raisins offer a traditional sweet touch.
- Oven Watch: Keep an eye on the oven temperature and baking time. Overcooking can dry out the rolls, so it’s important to bake them just until they’re golden brown.
- Serving Suggestions: Serve these rolls with complementary sides like mushroom risotto or roasted vegetables to create a balanced and satisfying meal.
- Advance Preparation: These rolls can be prepared ahead and frozen, making them a convenient option for busy holiday cooking. Remember to thaw them properly before baking.