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Playing How To Make Stuffing 4 Ways By Rachael

Rach shows how to make her basic apple & onion stuffing, then gives 3 delicious riffs. Voila! 4 different versions to choose from this Thanksgiving. 

"I like to serve my stuffing in a casserole dish, extra-crispy on a buttered sheet tray, or as stuffin' muffins!" Rach says. 

Ingredients

For the Apple and Onion Stuffing (Base):
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 5 to 6 ribs celery from the heart, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large crisp apples, such as Pink Lady, HoneyCrisp or Macoun, left unpeeled and diced
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • ½ cup loosely packed herbs, such as fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups homemade croutons of stale bread, or 1 bag stuffing cubes, sage and onion or traditional Pepperidge Farm brand
  • 1 tablespoon Bell's Seasoning
  • 1 quart chicken or turkey stock
For the Breakfast Sausage, Maple & Walnut Stuffing:
  • 1 ½ pounds spicy breakfast sausage
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
For the Orange, Cranberry & Bacon Stuffing:
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup reconstituted dried cranberries (translation: soaked in water to plump)
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped and crisped up
For the Italian Sausage, Browned Butter, Apple & Onion Stuffing:
  • 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 15 sage leaves

Yield

Serves: 8 to 10

Preparation

For the Apple and Onion Stuffing (Base):

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter foams, add the celery, onion, apples, bay, herbs, salt and pepper, and cook to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. (If making version no. 3 below, also add a half of a fennel bulb, chopped, along with celery, onion and apples here). Add cubed bread, season with Bell's and moisten with stock; stir to absorb. Butter a casserole dish with ½ tablespoon of the remaining butter and fill pan with stuffing. Use the rest of the butter to dot the top. Roast the stuffing 30 to 40 minutes until crisp.

1) For the Breakfast Sausage, Maple & Walnut Stuffing:

Start with crumbling and browning up 1 ½ pounds spicy breakfast sausage. Once browned, continue on with the Apple and Onion Stuffing base cooking instructions. Stir in ⅓ cup maple syrup and 2 cups toasted coarsely chopped walnuts. 

Butter a half-sheet pan, fill pan with stuffing, dot with butter and bake until crispy, about 15 to 18 minutes.

2) For the Orange, Cranberry & Bacon Stuffing:

Make Apple and Onion Stuffing base, add the zest of 1 orange. Add 1 cup reconstituted dried cranberries and 1 pound crisped up, chopped bacon. 

Butter a half-sheet pan, fill pan with stuffing, dot with butter and bake until crispy, about 15 to 18 minutes.

3) For the Italian Sausage, Browned Butter, Apple & Onion Stuffing:

Start with crumbling and browning up 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage and 1 bulb of chopped up fennel. Remove sausage and fennel; reserve. Fry up 15 sage leaves, crumble and reserve. Brown 6 tablespoons butter.

Butter a half-sheet pan, add Apple & Onion Stuffing base to pan, mix in sausage-fennel mixture, along with crumbled fried sage leaves, pour browned butter on top, dot with more butter and bake until crispy, about 15 to 18 minutes.