Not Your Typical Stuffings

Most families have a favorite stuffing recipe for the holiday. But why not shake up your Thanksgiving meal a little this year and try something new?

Cookbook author Tori Ritchie offers some great suggestions in The Early Show's special series, "Perfect Thanksgiving," with Williams-Sonoma.

Stuffing and dressing are interchangeable terms, only stuffing is often cooked inside the bird while dressing is baked on the side. Yet, Ritchie does not recommend cooking the stuffing inside the turkey.

"You have to roast the turkey for so long to ensure the stuffing is safely baked through that the bird often dries out," she says. "An un-stuffed bird will roast more evenly and quickly, thus being juicier and moister."

The following are her recipes for Sausage Corn Bread Stuffing, Apple Shallot Dressing and Wild Rice Dressing.

Sausage, Corn Bread And Chestnut Dressing

This dressing recipe is designed for advance preparation. You can chop the vegetables the day before and refrigerate them in sealable plastic bags. The bread cubes can also be toasted in advance; then stored in airtight containers at room temperature. You can use store-bought corn bread or bake your own.

Ingredients:
8 cups cubed day-old corn bread (1-inch cubes)
2 cups cubed day-old country-style white bread, crusts removed (1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 lb. mild Italian pork sausage, casings removed
1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil, if needed
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup French chestnuts, quartered
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary and thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

Method:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow gratin pan.
  2. Spread the corn bread and white bread out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown and dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil to the accumulated fat in the pan, if needed. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage. Add the corn bread and white bread, the chestnuts, herbs and stock. Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.
  5. Transfer the dressing to the prepared gratin pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until browned and crispy, 35 to 40 minutes more.

Serves 10 to 12.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.