No matter how big your roast dinner or Thanksgiving day spread is going to be, you NEED a fantastic stuffing/dressing! This hearty, chewy, moist but also a little crispy, sweet and flavorful Pear, Sage and Sausage Stuffing fits the bill perfectly!
I love stuffing, but truth be told, the stuffing that I grew up with was terrible. It was soggy and mushy and made with breadcrumbs, like a paste. Yup, exactly. But I never knew any better back then, so I had no idea what I was missing out on. Thankfully though, I discovered the real deal before too long.
That real deal, is amazing. Amazing enough that every time I prepare a roast dinner now, I make extra stuffing (or dressing if you want to get technical, because I almost always make this separately without the bird), so we can have just the stuffing as a meal the next day. Packed with great flavor and hearty texture, moist but also a little crispy, stuffing is what I look forward to the most at every roast dinner. True story.
What I love about dressing is that I don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy it. When I was living in New Zealand and Australia, Thanksgiving was never a thing there, but stuffing most certainly was! With every roast “chook” (that’s roast chicken when translated), comes a fantastic stuffing, that was just as much of a show-stealer as the bird.
So today I’m going to share with you guys one of my favorite stuffing recipes, Pear, Sage and Sausage Stuffing. This is an awesome gourmet twist on the classic Sage and Onion stuffing. Because no matter how big your spread is going to be at Thanksgiving, Christmas or any roast dinner, the stuffing is also going to be a star. So I’d always make sure not to skimp out on that.
One of my favorite additions in my stuffing and dressing recipes is fruits. Fruits add a natural sweetness, and pears were my choice for this recipe. Pears have a nice, delicate sweetness that doesn’t overpower other flavors in this pear and sausage stuffing. Pears are only one option though, you can also use apples, cranberries, raisins, fresh or dried apricots, or fresh or dried figs even. But with pears being in season in autumn, they are usually a fabulous seasonal choice.
I prefer to make my own croutons for this turkey stuffing as well, because really, there’s nothing better than a from scratch sausage stuffing, at least for me. 🙂 Some stuffing recipes use breadcrumbs or already made croutons, but making my own croutons is just more satisfying, and really not that difficult. Plus my husband and I love snacking on the croutons too.
Another advantage to making your own croutons for this stuffing recipe is that you can use any type of bread that you like to eat. For this sausage stuffing, I used a simple white bread loaf, but I’ve made this with a multigrain bread loaf as well, and it always tastes fantastic.
That subtle, almost creamy sweetness that pears add really makes this stuffing stand out. And then you have the earthy flavor and fragrance of sage, and the chewy and crispy textures of delicious sausage and bread. It’s an easy, flavorful stuffing that’s sure to be the highlight of your Thanksgiving Day meal or any roast dinner!
Sure, you can stuff your Turkey with this, but between you and me, this side dish is going to be my main side dish this Thanksgiving!
We love this Sage, Pear and Sausage stuffing so much that we always make enough to guarantee plenty of leftovers. The leftovers go really well with a runny sunny side up egg on top, the next day. OR you can make this delicious Thanksgiving Leftover Savory Bread Pudding made with this pear and sausage stuffing, juicy turkey, cranberry sauce AND cheese!
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Pear, Sage and Sausage Stuffing
- 14 oz bread loaf cubed, which yields 10 oz of toasted bread cubes
- Drizzle of oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb good quality fennel pork sausages casings removed
- A handful of roughly chopped parsley
- 20 sage leaves chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion sliced
- 5 bartlett pears cut into cubes (about 1.5 cm)
- 2 leeks (not the dark green leaves) sliced, washed and drained
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 3/4 cup good quality chicken stock you may need more depending on how much your bread would require in order to soften
- Ground black pepper
- Cut the 14 oz bread loaf (French or Italian bread) into big cubes (about 1.5 inch each). Place these cubes on a baking tray and drizzle them with some oil and salt and bake in the oven until they are dry and turn light golden - time depends on the loaf of bread, mine took about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of butter or oil in a large pan. When the onion turns translucent, add the pork sausage meat and break it into chunky pieces. Saute and mix for a few seconds and then add the sage and leeks. Cook until the leeks soften.
- Add the pears, salt and black pepper to taste and mix well. Remove from the heat, as you don’t want the pears to soften too much.
- Add the bread cubes and parsley, and toss to combine with the rest of the stuffing. Pour the chicken stock over the bread until most of the bread cubes have softened (but not soggy).
- Butter a baking dish, and transfer the stuffing mix to the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes. First 20 minutes covered with foil, last 20 minutes uncovered.
- Serve with Roast Turkey or Chicken and with some extra parsley and sage sprinkled on top.