This meat stuffing/dressing works beautifully as a side or, it can be used to stuff any bird before roasting. Made entirely from scratch, this Thanksgiving/Christmas side is delicious and wholesome and one that you really shouldn’t skip over.
Now, I know that the ingredient list might seem…daunting, but really, the bulk of the ingredients comprises of dried herbs and spices (that you can adjust to suit your own personal taste), most of which goes into the homemade chunks of pork sausage.
Making this stuffing/dressing requires cooking individual elements and then combining it all together. In short we’ll:
- Season and cook the sausage chunks
- Cook the vegetables
- Season and cook the beef
- Add in the croutons
- Add in the stock
- Add in the raisins and mix
- Let it rest so the croutons can absorb all the juices
- Mix again to fully combine everything.
To make it we’re going to need some unseasoned homemade croutons, butter, celery, carrots, onions, beef (seasoned with salt, ground black pepper, Italian seasoning and roasted garlic), ground pork (seasoned dried herbs and spices including finely blended raw cane sugar, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, rubbed sage, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper), raisins (which are optional but highly recommended!) and some chicken broth which I forgot to include in my mise en place.
To begin we’ll add all the herbs and spices to the ground pork and mix it all in until it’s evenly distributed. This is pretty much all there is to making our sausage chunks. Now we just need to cook it.
To do that we’ll add 2 tbsp of butter (out of the stick we need) to our skillet. Pretty much everything will be done in this skillet so that the flavors can be built up on each other.
Once the butter is melted, add your seasoned pork in and cook until all pink is gone. Be sure to break it up into small chunks as it cooks. Once it’s done, remove it from the pan and set it aside. I recommend a large bowl or pot since we’re going to add in the ingredients as we make them.
Next comes our vegetables. Add the remaining butter to the skillet you just cooked your sausage chunks in and allow it to melt down.
Once melted, add in the carrots, onions and celery and saute until tender. Once done, add it to the bowl or pot with the sausage chunks.
Next up is the beef. Add it to the skillet we just cooked our sausage and veggies in along with the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and roasted garlic. Cook it until there is no more pink visible, and be sure to break up any large chunks.
Once done, add your beef into your pot or bowl with the sausage and vegetables.
Add in your croutons and toss to mix it all together and to allow your bread to begin absorbing the juices and butter from the meats and vegetables.
Next comes the chicken stock. A great option here is to use it to deglaze the pan you cooked the sausage, vegetables and beef in just to get that extra little bit of flavor before you pour it over your stuffing/dressing and toss.
And finally the raisins. The little bite of soft sweetness that the raisins add perfectly complements the salt and seasoning of the meat to create a perfectly harmonious bite that keeps the dish from being monotonous. For this reason I really recommend not skipping out of adding them in.
At this point I cover my pot and let it rest for 15 or so minutes on the still warm (not hot!) burner so that everything can meld together and the bread can soften fully. Depending on how you like your stuffing/dressing’s texture, you can mash it all together for a stuffing/dressing that is more incorporated but I quite enjoy the visual of the pieces and of being able to get a bite of and taste each element by itself so I tend to leave mine on the chunkier side.
All that’s left to do now is enjoy the fruits of your labor and trust me that this dish is worth it! 🤤This is perhaps one of the dishes of which there is never enough of at my Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner table. And if there are leftovers, the great news is that it makes a great next-day option to indulge and enjoy and keep the holiday spirit going!
From our kitchen to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and Season’s Greetings!
From Scratch Meat Stuffing
For the Pork Sausage:
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tbsp raw cane sugar finely ground
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/6 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/6 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Vegetable Base:
- 6 tbsp salted butter
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1/2 cup carrots diced
For Ground Beef:
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2-3 cloves roasted garlic
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 4 cups homemade croutons more if needed
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- Make the pork sausage: Add the spices for the pork (sugar-cayenne pepper) to the ground pork and mix well to combine.
- Add 2 tbsp of butter to a skillet and once melted and bubbling, add the seasoned pork and cook until no pink is visible, being sure to break it up into smaller chunks.
- Once cooked, remove the pork sausage from the pan and set it aside, juices and all, into a pot or dish.
- Saute the vegetables: Return the same skillet to the heat and add 6 tbsp of butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted and bubbling add in the onions, celery and carrots and saute for 5-7 minutes until softened.
- Add the vegetables to the same pot or dish that contains the cooked pork.
- Cook the beef: Return the skillet to the heat once more and add in the ground beef, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and roasted garlic, and cook until the beef is no longer pink (be sure to break up any larger chunks.
- Add the beef to the pan with the pork sausage and vegetables and mix everything together.
- Mix in the croutons.
- Deglaze the skillet using the chicken stock. Be sure to scrape as much of the bits on the bottom of the pan as possible and pour it over the meat stuffing.
- Add the raisins and mix well.
- Cover the pan or dish and allow the croutons to absorb the juices and soften for 5 minutes before turning and letting it rest another 5 minutes.
- Optional: Use a potato masher to mash and combine all ingredients together into a more mixed stuffing once the stuffing has set and the croutons have softened.
- Serve as a side or use it to stuff your bird before roasting.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to three months.