Sarah’s Secret Stuffing That Everyone Likes, Even Mimi

Here is my Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe, subject to the usual Sarah method of using whatever is on hand or what I remembered to buy at the store. So we realize all proportions are approximate. I seem to remember having large quantities of water chestnuts left over that did not get put into the stuffing. The moral is — go with what you like and what looks good and what tastes good. Extra sausage always.

This makes about 16 cups of stuffing, depending on how much is tasted throughout the cooking process.

2 lbs sausage, no BHT or MSG or preservatives (recommended: Jones all natural breakfast sausage)
2 good big onions chopped not too fine but not too coarse. Or leeks. Or scallions, or combinations thereof.
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
Fresh mushrooms — pick a quantity. Lots of you like them.
(I have yet to try this, but this Thanksgiving I will add roasted red peppers for a change. I wonder if Mimi will notice.)
Water chestnuts, sliced & chopped. I like lots, about 2-4 cans.
About 6-8 cups of dry bread crumbs (truth be known, I like using a mix of Pepperidge Farm cubed herbed and cornbread crumbs). Check the back of the package for quantity information.
2 cups or so of crushed common crackers for the Yankees in the family (Ritz or saltine crackers for desperation or lack of anything else to use)
1-2 cups chicken broth or so.
Bell’s poultry seasoning. Anything else is inferior.
A good big handful of fresh parsley, chopped (if the deer didn’t get it)
Salt & pepper
Tabasco — just enough to liven things up.

In a big stock pot, cook the sausage, crumbling it into small pieces. Set aside in a bowl. Leave 1-2 tablespoons of grease in the pot. Add the onion and celery, wait a bit before putting in the mushrooms. Add water chestnuts. Stir often, and cook until the onions are translucent and the celery has softened up. Put on low heat and add the sausage back. Then add the bread crumbs and cracker crumbs in small amounts, stirring the mixture to absorb the drippings into the bread crumbs. Try not to break up the crumbs and cubes too much,

Add enough chicken stock to get the mixture moist, but not too gooey. Just enough, but not too much. Add (to taste) a good big dose of the poultry seasoning, parsley, then salt (if needed) and pepper (freshly ground). Tabasco to taste. Noni always (underlined) reminds me not to overstuff the bird’s cavities since stuffing expands while cooking and heavens forbid there would be an exploding turkey on such a big day.

This recipe always seems to be favored by the crowd around the table, but there may be some correlation to volume of wine consumed that affects judgement. I like it!

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