Ciabatta and Sausage Dressing

As much as I love turkey around the holidays, it’s the dressing and gravy that I love the most. Dressing (specially this ciabatta and sausage version) has so many different flavors and textures and colors. Turkey? Meh… not so much. Not that the turkey is a bad thing, it’s just that I much prefer a plate with a lot of dressing and just a bit of turkey.
I had never had a dressing that contained sausage until this one. I was blown away by just how much flavor the sage sausage adds. The ciabatta adds such wonderful texture and flavor too. There’s no question, this is one fantastic dressing.

Also try my more traditional Thanksgiving Day dressing.

Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 3 tablespoons. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (1 pound) roll bulk sage breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cups turkey stock (chicken stock can be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • 1 (12 ounce) loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1" pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Add remaining butter to the skillet and melt.
  5. Add the carrot, onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.
  6. Place the sausage, cooked vegetables, stock, oil, parsley, rosemary sage and bread into a large bowl and stir.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish and spread out evenly.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
  10. Serve garnished with more parsley if desired.

Turkey and Stuffing Egg Rolls

When I came across this idea for making egg rolls packed with turkey and stuffing there was no way that I was going to wait until I had Thanksgiving leftovers to make them. I had to make them immediately. So I did. Cranberries sauce and gravy made for the perfect dipping sauces. Every bite tasted like the best Thanksgiving ever. Absolutely fantastic.
Turkey and Stuffing Egg RollsI loved the crunchy egg roll contrasting with the sage stuffing and tender turkey. The cranberry sauce is a little thinner than your usual Thanksgiving version so that it’s easier to dip into. You might want to thin your gravy with a bit of milk or broth too if it’s too thick for successful dipping!

Turkey and Stuffing Egg Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 wrappers
For the egg rolls
  • 1 pound roasted turkey breast, skin removed and cut into small cubes
  • 1 package Stove Top dressing, prepared (or two cups)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • Oil for frying
  • Gravy, warmed, for dipping (I used our Cajun gravy)
  • Cranberry dipping sauce, for dipping (see below)
For the cranberry dipping sauce
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
For the egg rolls
  1. Heat a few inches of oil to 375 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  2. Combine the turkey and dressing in a bowl.
  3. Working in batches. brush egg and water around edges of the egg roll wrappers.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of turkey in the center of the wrappers.Roll up tightly and fold in the edges. Brush on more egg to help seal the rolls.
  5. Fry the egg rolls for 1-2 minutes, rotating as they cook, until golden brown. Remove to a pap towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
For the cranberry dipping sauce
  1. Place cranberry sauce in a medium saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir until melted.
  3. Add the sugar and zest and stir.
  4. Add water as needed to reach the desired consistency.

Thanksgiving Day Dressing

This is by far my favorite dressing. The smell of onion, celery and mushrooms… then sage. I could sit down and just have me a big plate of this dressing.

This is based on a recipe from Betty Crocker. There are two things that are key to this dressing coming out perfect. First, use stale bread. If you have only fresh, leave it out (open) on the counter for a few days first. Second, do not over moisten the dressing before baking or it will be soggy. You want it firm, but not dry.

For something totally different try my ciabatta and sausage dressing.

Thanksgiving Day Dressing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups bread, cubed (see note)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground sage
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  1. Note: The bread needs to be day old, and slightly crusty. If yours is not, you can sit it out overnight, or place the cubes on baking trays and place in a warm oven until crusty. Do not overcook.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter, then saute the onion, celery and mushroom until the onion is soft.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and sage and cook 3 minutes.
  5. Place the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of the butter/celery mixture over the cubes and toss well. Repeat until all of the vegetable mixture is used.
  6. If the mixture is dry, add the chicken stock in 1/4 cup increments, mixing well. Do not over-moisten.
  7. Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.

Holiday Make-Ahead Gravy

I like to make as much of our Thanksgiving meal ahead of time as I can. And I like to have a lot of gravy for my turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes (and for sopping with rolls).

This holiday make-ahead gravy came out fantastic. I ‘fry’ my turkey in my Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer, so I don’t usually get a lot of drippings to make a lot of gravy. This recipe saves the day.

Note that this recipe consists of two parts. In the first, you’ll make 8 or so cups of turkey stock using roasted turkey wings (you can also use smoked turkey wings). You can skip this step if you can find turkey stock in the store. The second step uses SOME of the stock to make the gravy. You’ll have leftover stock unless you double or even triple the gravy ingredients (which will make a HUGE batch of gravy!).

Oh, and if you have cats or dogs, they’ll love the turkey meat that is left from making the stock. If you need an easy chicken gravy recipe instead, use my favorite.

Don’t use this gravy on good ole turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes. It’s great as a dip for turkey and stuffing egg rolls too.

Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Gravy
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Fantastic flavor, perfect for that Thanksgiving turkey.
For the stock
  • 4 turkey wings
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
For the gravy
  • 2-3 cups of the stock (you'll get about 8 cups of stock, so triple the gravy recipe if you want to use it all for gravy)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, more or less
For the turkey stock
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place the wings, celery, onion and garlic in a roasting pan. Place in oven and roast for 2 hours.
  3. Place roasting pan on a burner on the stove (if you don't have room, you can transfer the contents to a large stockpot).
  4. Add 8 cups of water, the peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Remove turkey and vegetables. Strain the resulting stock into a large resealable container.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Skim off any fat.
For the gravy
  1. Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until golden in color.
  3. Slowly pour in 2-3 cups of the stock, a little at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. Add in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Whisk in some of the milk. Taste and add more if you wish, but don't make the gravy too thin. Let simmer until the desired thickness is achieved. Add more milk if it gets too thick.