Forget everything you thought you knew about stuffing. This Croissant Sausage Stuffing-- with its ultra-buttery, herbaceous flavors and flaky, fluffy layers-- is changing the Thanksgiving game.
CROISSANT SAUSAGE STUFFING
I’m a carb fiend by nature, so Thanksgiving, with its glorious mounds of mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and (most importantly) stuffing is a day straight out of my dreams. Sure, the turkey is great, but come on. Stuffing. The stuffing is where it’s at, people.
And because stuffing has brought me so much happiness, I just feel guilty reaching for a cardboard box of the pre-made stuff that tastes like...Well, cardboard. Stuffing deserves better.
So a few years ago, I started to *think outside the box*, swapping the dense, tasteless bread for buttery, flaky croissants. Total upgrade! My Croissant Sausage Stuffing was sweet and salty with a texture that was crunchy and moist at the same time.
The recipe was a hit, but over the years, a few substitutions have made their way into my Croissant Stuffing, and I figured it was about time to update the official recipe with the new-and-improved version. In this reboot, I swap tart cranberries for sweet fall apples, pump up the richness with heavy cream and pull it all together with a little egg. It’s just as easy as the original, and guaranteed to be a hit with even self-proclaimed stuffing haters.
STUFFING VS DRESSING
I'm not ultra-pedantic when it comes to food names, much to the dismay of some of my reddit readers who have VERY STRONG opinions about recipe titles. (It's okay, I love you all.)
But if we were going by the book, most dictionaries distinguish stuffing as a mixture used to stuff another food, usually poultry, before cooking. That would mean “dressing” - an essentially identical dish with a different name - can be categorized as any recipe you cook outside your turkey. A true “side dish” rather than a “filling”.
Now maybe that theory was true at one time, but if it was, it sure isn’t anymore. The fact is that most southerners call the dish “dressing” regardless of where it’s been baked. For that matter, plenty of us Yankees cook our stuffing separately anyway to avoid salmonella and uneven cooking.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Google. States like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia hunt almost exclusively for “dressing” recipes while Maine, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, are the top stuffing-searchers. The truth is, “stuffing” or “dressing” has more to do with the location of your Thanksgiving table than it does with your recipe.
Whatever you call it, the important thing is that this iconic side dish is moist, carby and perfect for soaking up any Thanksgiving morsels left on your plate. Check, check, and check!
WHAT’S IN THIS CROISSANT SAUSAGE STUFFING?
- The base: White bread and cornbread make for delicious stuffings, but there’s one thing croissants have that they don’t: BUTTERY LAYERS. Lots and lots of buttery layers. Croissants are also delightfully light and fluffy, which means they're much more forgiving when exposed to moisture. No gluey, dense stuffing here!
- Breakfast Sausage: Why breakfast sausage? Because what else would we eat with croissants? (Just kidding!) The real answer has a lot less to do with breakfast foods and a lot more to do with Thanksgiving foods. Breakfast sausage is flavored with festive nutmeg rather than fennel, as well as a hint of sage-- both of which are seasonal ingredients that will meld well with the rest of your holiday dishes.
- A Touch of Sweetness: Baked tart apples are divine on their own, but the real magic happens when you pair them with sausage. Ultimate. Autumn. Bliss.
- Aromatic Veggies: What seems like a simple (and perhaps inessential) addition of onion and celery is actually incredibly important to developing the stuffing's signature taste. Don’t skip the aromatics, which lay the foundation for the stuffing's deep flavor!
- Heavy cream: Chicken stock is important to flavoring and moistening stuffing, but if you add too much, thin liquids tend to create soggier side dishes. Adding thicker, creamier ingredients to the mix will add richness and moisture without making your stuffing watery.
- Fresh herbs: Remember that sage we were talking about in the breakfast sausage? Well that’s not all, we've also got fresh sage in the mix. Throw in some thyme and rosemary as well, and the stuffing gets a bodacious, herbaceous boost of Thanksgiving flavors.
- Eggs: Ever stabbed at your stuffing with a fork, forced to eat it in 100 little bites instead of shoveling it into their mouth like you REALLY wanted to? Or, in order to get the stuffing to stick together, have you been forced to add so much liquid to the mix that your stuffing turned to mush? Eggs help avoid both dressing pitfalls. Adding just a couple of eggs to your mixture before baking helps bind everything together and keeps it from crumbling without making a wet mess.
MORE SIDE DISHES TO MAKE THIS SEASON
- The Best Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Bacon
- Bacon Jalapeño Popper Creamed Corn Gratin
- Make-Ahead Rosemary Sweet Potato Rolls
- Ultimate Sweet Potato Casserole
- Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms
This Thanksgiving, switch things up from your typical stuffing side dish! This Croissant-Sausage Stuffing will be the talk of your Turkey Day. (Or should I say "Stuffing Day?)
10 croissants, split
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
16 ounces breakfast sausage patties, crumbled
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups chicken stock, divided
½ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a large casserole dish and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Place the split croissants on the lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 5-10 minutes, cut side down. Remove and let cool. Coarsely crumble or chop the croissants into a large bowl and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble and cook the sausage in the skillet until browned and cooked through. Transfer to the large bowl with the croissants. Saute the chopped onion, celery, and apple over medium heat until slightly soft, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the from heat and toss with croissants. Add the herbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, 1 cup of the broth, and heavy cream. Pour over the croissants. Add additional broth to moisten to your liking. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the buttered casserole dish and top with remaining butter. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Category: Side