Of all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, I’ve gotta say that stuffing or dressing is my least favorite. It’s usually a little soggy, the flavors aren’t super exciting, and there’s not a lot of texture to it. When I decided I wanted to try to make a dressing that I DID like, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me; I wanted LOTS of flavor, and I wanted the texture to be just a little custard-y on the inside.
I’ll be honest, I’m the one who came up with it, and this flavor combination seemed a little odd even to ME, at first! But, I’m glad I trusted my instincts and went for it, because the combination of the spicy sausage and the sweet blueberries was really interesting, and delicious. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Sausage Dressing with Pistachios and Blueberries
serves 4-6 as a side (can easily be doubled)
8oz high quality bread, stale, cut into 1″ cubes*
8oz hot Italian sausage
one medium sweet onion, diced
3oz dried blueberries
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3oz shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
2oz feta cheese
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 cup + 2 Tbps chicken stock, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
kosher salt and black pepper
*your bread cubes should be pretty dry and crusty. If they’re not, spread them out onto a baking sheet and pop them into a 250° oven for about 20-30 minutes to dry them out. Let the bread cool before continuing.
1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add your Italian sausage. Brown the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
2.) Add the dried blueberries to the skillet, along with a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir everything together, and then add two tablespoons of chicken stock and one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan; use a wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits up from the bottom of the skillet. Continue cooking until most of the liquid is gone (the blueberries should reconstitute and plump up just a bit).
3.) Whisk together the heavy cream, one cup of chicken stock, the egg, and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
4.) Put the bread cubes into a large bowl, and top with the sausage mixture. Pour in half the chicken stock mixture, and stir to combine everything so that the bread is evenly moistened.
5.) Add the pistachios, parsley, and feta; pour in the rest of the chicken stock mixture, and stir again. Pour everything into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick or olive oil spray, and spread it into an even layer.
6.) Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the foil, bump the oven temp to 375°, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the top of the dressing is a deep golden brown.
7.) Allow the dressing to set for about ten minutes, and serve.
I tell you what, this dressing is big on flavor AND texture. Crispy, crunchy bread, chewy, spicy sausage, the little pops of sweetness from the blueberries… and let’s not forget the roasty, salty, crunch from the pistachios. I think you could add it to your Thanksgiving table, right alongside the traditional stuffing, if you wanted to; it’s such a different flavor profile, and it would be a nice addition to the more classic Thanksgiving dishes.
Alright, I’ve got (at least) one more recipe coming your way, hopefully tomorrow… a delicious and easy non-traditional dessert!
The best part about this dressing is that it never saw the inside of a bird,