This sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes pairs pork with prunes for a savory and sweet side that goes well with Thanksgiving turkey.
Adapted from Michael McLaughlin | Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving | Free Press, 2001
Prunes appear in both sweet and savory dishes and are often paired with pork, as in this recipe. (Prunes are dried plums—in particular, the small purple plums called prune plums. Dried apricots can replace some or all of the prunes in the dressing if desired.)–Michael McLaughlin
Sourdough Dressing with Sausage and Prunes FAQs
This recipe calls for one-pound of bulk breakfast sausage. You could also use ground country sausage but we would advise staying away from anything heavily spiced, like an Italian sausage. You can go with turkey rather than pork if you prefer something leaner, as well.
There are certainly steps you can do before you’re ready to cook your turkey. In fact, we would suggest you start drying out that bread 3 to 4 days before your dinner. You can then make the entire dressing the day before and reheat it at 350℉, covered in foil, for 20 minutes. Just remember, this is only for dressing that is cooked separately—stuffing must be cooked as soon as it’s inside the bird.
When baking or reheating the dressing, it would be an enormous disappointment to pull all the crispy bits off with the foil, wouldn’t it? Before covering the pan, slick the foil with a little oil. You’ll be glad you did.
Sourdough Dressing with Sausage and Prunes
- 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage with sage coarsely crumbled
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter plus more for the baking dish
- 4 cups (1 1/4 pounds) finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 2 1/2 pounds sourdough bread slices 2 or 3 days old, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 5 eggs
- 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 2 cups prunes quartered and pitted
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the sausage and onions
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, stirring it occasionally without breaking up too much, until just cooked through and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to paper towels to drain. Discard the drippings in the skillet and wipe the skillet clean.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the butter until it foams. Stir in the onion and poultry seasoning, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is quite softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Mix the dressing
- In a large bowl, toss together the bread, sausage, and onion and butter mixture.
- In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk the stock into the eggs and then stir the stock mixture into the bread mixture. Add the prunes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and mix well.
To bake the dressing alongside the turkey
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Generously butter a 4-quart baking dish. Spoon the dressing into the prepared dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the dressing is lightly browned on top and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, about another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
To bake the dressing in the turkey (in which case it’s technically “stuffing”)
- Loosely cram the dressing in the turkey and truss the larger opening. Increase the roasting time of the turkey by 35 to 45 minutes. Generously butter a baking dish and spoon the remaining dressing into the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake alongside the turkey for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the dressing is steaming hot, lightly browned and crisped on top, and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, another 25 minutes or so, depending on the size of the baking dish. Serve hot.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I love this sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes recipe. The prunes are a lovely bite of unexpected sweetness to contrast with the sausage. It makes so much! Easily feeds 15.
The cook times are accurate, and everything works wonderfully. I’d probably add more poultry seasoning in the next batch I make. The herbs were rather subtle, which is maybe the point but I would prefer a bit more. However, this is merely a personal preference and was not detrimental to the recipe.
This sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes was a very different recipe for me. Like many people, I have a tried and true recipe that I generally use to make stuffing/dressing and can be skeptical of new recipes. The poultry seasoning gave this one a very traditional type of flavor and the prunes lent a nice pop of interest to each bite.
This recipe seemed foolproof to me–each step worked pretty much as planned. It seemed like a lot of liquid at first, but it came out perfectly at the end. If you are unable to get the bread 2 or 3 days early, I think that it would work just as well to dry the bread cubes in the oven at about 300°F for 30 minutes or so. I think that this would pair really well with a pork roast, but would also be lovely for any holiday poultry that you like.
Originally published November 1, 2001