Oven-Baked Fennel Sausage Stuffing for a Crowd

"This is a recipe that started from a Cook's Illustrated recipe but we modified it to get in all of the flavors we love. This recipe makes 2 9x13 pans to feed a large crowd."
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Ready In:
1hr 40mins
2 9x13 pans




  • Dry your bread ahead of time by cutting it into 1/2 inch slices (if it isn't already sliced) and laying them on a single layer on baking sheets or cooling racks, and leaving them out overnight. The next day, cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes and allow them to dry for another night. If you are in a hurry or they don't dry enough from just laying them out, dry the slices in a 225-degree oven until brittle but not brown, 30 - 40 minutes. Then cut them into cubes and proceed. You want to end up with nice 1/2 inch cubes that are not quite as dry as croutons but close to that.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two 9x13 pans with butter or cooking spray. Prepare the wild rice mix as directed on the package.
  • Brown the sausage in a large pan. Remove the cooked sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep the rendered fat in the pan.
  • Add 8 tablespoons butter to the pan and melt. Add the onion, celery and fennel and saute over medium-high heat and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in all of the spices and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until nice and fragrant. Remove from heat and the sausage back inches.
  • Mix the onion mixture with the dried bread in a very large bowl (I use a large stock pot). Add in the parsley, broth and eggs and mix everything together gently but well.
  • Divide the mixture into the two prepared pans. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and drizzle over the top of the stuffing. Cover the pans tightly with greased aluminum foil. You can refrigerate the stuffing at this point if you want to prepare it earlier in the day.
  • Bake in the oven covered for 25 minutes, until fragrant (30-35 minutes if refrigerated). Remove foil and bake until golden brown crust forms on top, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Serve warm.

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