Thanksgiving, y’all. It’s happening in eight days. Are you ready? I know I am.
See, aside from taking a bus to Boston, there’s nothing I need to do. My parents are coming up to spend the holiday with my little sister and me, and we’ll be having the traditional turkey dinner at a restaurant in Brookline, Massachusetts. No muss, no fuss. All we need to do is dress nicely and show up. It’s pretty great, especially if the idea of making a huge dinner doesn’t appeal to you. But, as you may have gathered by my having a food blog, the marathon cooking very much appeals to me.
For years I’ve said that my idea of the perfect day is preparing a Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. I know–I’m insane. Hear me out though. I have been obsessively reading recipes for years and have catalogued an extensive collection of Thanksgiving recipes. Given the chance to host Thanksgiving, I know every detail from how I’d serve Artichoke Dip as an appetizer to how I’d dry brine the turkey to which of my mother’s sweet potato recipes I’d use and how many pies I’d make. And of course, I know what kind of stuffing I’d serve–one made with biscuits and studded with sausage and mushrooms. Since it doesn’t appear I’ll be preparing any large turkey dinners anytime soon, I went ahead and tried my ideal stuffing recipe on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. After eating four servings over the course of the day, I can safely say that the Sausage & Mushroom Biscuit Stuffing I’d been imagining for years is just as good as I had hoped. Crispy on top, moist in the middle, and made out of the perfect food (biscuits, duh), this is the stuffing of my dreams.
Sausage & Mushroom Biscuit Stuffing starts with a batch of cream biscuits. These biscuits require less work than their buttermilk-based counterparts and are just as delicious. They’re great with butter and jam or made into little sandwiches, but here they’re cut into small pieces after baking and left at room temperature until stale (12-48 hours). If you’re working on a tight deadline, I’ve written a shortcut for this step into the recipe.
Once the biscuit pieces are dried out, the stuffing assembly can begin. Brown some sausage. I like breakfast sausage because the sage flavor goes so well with other parts of the Thanksgiving meal, but use whichever variety you like.
Sauté some diced mushrooms, followed by onion and celery. Add the biscuits, sausage, and vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Toss in some herbs–parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (just as Simon & Garfunkel intended). Throw in a little salt and pepper and moisten everything with melted butter and chicken stock.
Pile it into a casserole dish (or your trusty cast iron skillet) and drizzle it with a bit more stock. Lay parchment and foil over the top to keep the stuffing moist, and bake for half an hour. Then remove the foil and parchment and bake for fifteen more minutes, just long enough for the top to get brown and crispy.
This stuffing, y’all. It’s freaking delicious. Deeply savory with tons of meaty sausage, earthy mushrooms, aromatics, herbs, and butter (always butter), it’ll be perfect alongside your turkey. The top is brown and crisp-crunchy, while the middle stays soft and moist. Oh my lord, is this good. Try it, and you will be wondering why we save this for one or two days per year. I know I am.
Sausage & Mushroom Biscuit Stuffing
biscuit recipe from Dinner with Julie
makes about 8-10 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 recipe cream biscuits (or other good biscuits), cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb breakfast sausage, removed from casings
6 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces cremini or other mushrooms, diced
2 cups diced white onion (about one large onion)
2 cups diced celery (about 6-8 stalks)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock, divided (I like Better than Bouillon)
Make the biscuits. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in heavy cream. Knead a few times to incorporate any extra dry ingredients. Press biscuit dough into prepared pan and score with a sharp chef’s knife (I usually score 20 rectangular biscuits). Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to turn golden. Let cool in the pan on a rack until the biscuits reach room temperature.
Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the biscuits into 1-inch pieces. Place pieces in one layer on a baking sheet and leave uncovered for 12-48 hours, until stale. Alternatively, you may dry out the biscuit pieces by toasting them in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.
Make the stuffing. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large casserole or other ovenproof pan. Set aside.
Place stale biscuit pieces in a large mixing bowl.
Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove sausage to the mixing bowl that contains the biscuits.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of sausage fat from the pan, and return to the heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and melt. Sauté mushrooms 7-10 minutes, until cooked but not browned. Add them to the sausage and biscuit pieces.
Return pan to the heat and reduce heat to medium. Add celery and onion and sauté until translucent but not brown, about 10 minutes.
Add vegetables to the large mixing bowl, along with thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss all ingredients together. Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock and continue stirring until everything is moistened (there may be a bit of excess liquid–this is fine). Taste for salt and add 1/2 teaspoon more, if desired.
Press mixture into prepared casserole dish. Drizzle with an additional 1 cup chicken stock. Cover with a layer of parchment, followed by a layer of foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove parchment and foil. Bake an additional 15 minutes until browned and crispy. Serve immediately.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.