However you dress it up, Poblano Sausage Stuffing will take center stage at any holiday celebration with its combination of classic flavors and earthy chiles. Deeply savory with woodsy sage and grassy celery, this easy-to-prepare stuffing recipe will satisfy the traditionalists looking for the familiar taste of grandma’s dressing while bringing that irresistible bite of chile everyone will love.
Is it even the holiday season without sausage dressing flanking the smoked spatchcock turkey? There’s something nostalgic and comforting about the herbaceous aroma and tender texture. From stolen bites straight from the pan to that early morning chunk of cold stuffing snuck from the refrigerator (yes, that’s me), it’s the dish many of us look forward to all year long.
Skip the boxed mix and fire up the smoker. Even the most discerning grandma will love this one.
Why You’ll Love Poblano Sausage Stuffing
- EASY PROCESS. There is absolutely nothing complicated about any step of this smoked stuffing. Even down to making your own bread cubes for the best flavor and texture, any level of cook can create this. No smoker? No problem. You can just as easily pop this into the oven while your turkey is resting.
- SIMPLE INGREDIENTS. Nothing bad ever starts with juicy, boldly flavored sausage including this stuffing. Aromatics like onions and celery join the party along with fresh, fragrant sage. You can easily pick up everything at any grocery store.
- MAKE AHEAD. There is no need to be in a rush during the holiday. All of the components of this dish can be prepared ahead of time. Feel free to make your bread cubes several days in advance and assemble your sausage dressing the day before up to the point of adding the broth and baking.
Poblano Sausage Stuffing Ingredients
- Ground sausage: Any type of pork sausage is ideal for this recipe, but the sage-seasoned sausage is my favorite.
- Fresh sage: Dice up a few tablespoons of this classic holiday herb.
- Celery: The grassy crunch of celery is a must in this recipe.
- Poblanos: Slightly spicy, earthy, and grassy in flavor. This chile is the secret (ok, not so secret) ingredient that elevates a simple sausage stuffing recipe.
- Sweet onion: It’s important to use a sweet onion for this recipe, which balances out the savory and herbal flavors.
- Garlic: Just a few cloves go a long way, adding that aromatic savory flavor.
- Dried bread cubes: Make your own if possible, which allows you to control the size and flavor.
- Pecans or walnuts: The nutty, roasty flavors compliment the chiles and sage while adding more texture.
Variations and Substitutions
- Have fun playing around with your chiles. Jalapenos will add a little more kick while Anaheim peppers will give a mild bite. For a little sweetness and a pop of Christmas red, add in a diced red bell pepper. Use your favorite combination.
- Different types of fresh ground sausage will add different layers of flavor. Sage sausage will enhance the flavor of the fresh sage. Want a kick, use spicy sausage. Make sure to remove the sausage from the casing if not using loose bulk sausage.
- Like it thick? Whisk an egg together with the broth and add it in right before baking.
- If you don’t eat pork, feel free to use turkey sausage.
- Mix up the herbs. Other herbs work well in this recipe such as rosemary, basil, and parsley.
- Use a combination of bread for your bread cubes. A sturdy French or Italian loaf combined with a hearty pumpernickel boule will make this stuffing visually appealing while also adding depth of flavor and texture.
How to Make This Sausage Stuffing
Let’s take a closer look at how to make this simple Poblano Sausage Stuffing recipe, which you can prepare in the smoker, grill, or oven.
- Make your homemade bread crumbs. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the bread into small fairly even cubes and spread them out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Allow them to bake for 20 minutes or until they’ve mostly dried out, flipping them halfway through for even cooking. Let cool completely. This step can be done a day or two in advance.
- Cook the sausage. Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium heat. Use your spoon to break it up as it cooks. Allow it to brown and cook through, careful not to overcook it. Remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a large bowl.
- Saute the aromatics. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Add the onions, celery, poblano, and garlic. Use your wooden spoon to scrape up the bottom of the pan, making sure to get up the brown bits of sausage. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are becoming tender and the onions are translucent.
- Gently mix the stuffing. Add the sauteed vegetables to the bowl with the sausage as well as the sage. Mix to combine. Next, add the bread cubes to the bowl. Carefully fold them over so everything is evenly distributed.
Pour a cup of the stock into the bowl and carefully fold again. Allow the cubes to begin to absorb the liquid. If they seem a little too dry add in an additional half a cup to cup of stock. Taste, and season with black pepper. Carefully spread the sausage dressing into a large casserole dish or a 12” cast iron skillet. Drizzle the melted butter over the top.
PRO TIP: You might not use all of the broth in this recipe. I never have, but I’ve come close. The goal is to make sure the bread is wet, not soaked. If you have liquid sitting at the bottom of the bowl after it’s mixed, you’ve used too much. Pour it out before baking.
What is the best bread to use for stuffing?
- If possible start with day-old or slightly stale bread. This will give the best texture to the sausage dressing without making it soggy. Hit up your local bakery or the bakery department of your grocery store and reach for sturdy white bread such as French or Italian.
- Brioche and challah are both rich and delicious options, but also softer breads. Be mindful of toasting them in the oven as they may brown more quickly.
- While homemade is always best and couldn’t be easier, to make this recipe even faster you can use the bread cubes from the bakery. Skip the packaged stuffing cubes, however, as they’re already heavily seasoned and will change the flavors of this recipe.
- Cornbread is another delicious option that pairs especially well with sausage. Try skillet green chile cornbread with this. It will give a denser and slightly more crumbly texture but works well with all of the flavors.
- Use a combination of bread for depth of flavor and texture. This is also a great way to use up bread.
- Cook the stuffing for 35-40 minutes. Place the casserole dish into the smoker or oven. Allow it to cook until the top is golden brown and it has absorbed the liquid. Depending on your smoker you may need additional time. Use a spoon to press against the side and if there’s still liquid in the bottom of the pan allow it to cook a little longer.
Note that the top will have a darker appearance if cooked in the oven. It will be less browned in the smoker but will have that incredible wood-fired flavor. The best tool to get both would be a lower-temperature pizza oven, which also browns from the top.
- Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, this can be used as true stuffing and stuffed into either a chicken or turkey. Make sure that not only does the internal temperature of the bird read 165°F, but you want the internal temperature of the stuffing to be 165°F.
- Depending on how dry your bread is will determine how much liquid you need to add to your stuffing. Start with a cup and allow that to absorb before adding more. This will prevent the stuffing from becoming overly mushy.
- Be gentle when mixing your stuffing. Use a spatula to carefully fold the ingredients until combined. This will keep the integrity of the bread crumbs and not smash them down to mush. Nobody wants mushy, soggy bread.
- Don’t make the bread cubes too small. This will keep them from becoming too mushy and falling apart when mixing the stuffing. Also, try and keep them a fairly even size.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You can assemble your stuffing the day before up to the point of adding the broth and baking. When you’re ready to bake it off, add the broth and mix. You will probably need a little less broth as the mixture will have softened from the residual moisture of the sausage and vegetables. You can also bake your bread cubes up to a couple of days in advance. Allow them to cool completely and then transfer them to airtight containers or zipt top bags, careful not to compress them. Keep them stored at room temperature until ready to use.
Technically, yes. Once this stuffing has baked and cooled you can freeze it. However, the texture will be much more wet and soft once defrosted. It’s recommended to consume it from the refrigerator.
If you just want to reheat a portion of the stuffing, add a little butter or oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add your desired amount of stuffing and use a spatula to gently press it down. Flip it occasionally until all sides are warmed through and it’s a little crispy. To reheat the entire casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle a little bit of broth or stock over it and cover with foil. Allow it to bake until just warmed through, about 20 minutes. Uncover it and let it bake for another 5-10 minutes until crisped up on top.
More Side Dishes to Love
Pair this Poblano Sausage Stuffing with a number of side dishes to make an incredible holiday feast:
- Skillet Green Chile Cornbread
- Cranberry Jalapeno Poppers
- Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
- Smoked Baked Beans
- Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Grilled Poblano Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
- 6 cups dried bread cubes
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
- Preheat the smoker (or oven) to 350°F.
- Cook the sausage in a large saute pan over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned and cooked through. Do not overcook the sausage. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.
- Add in the butter, and saute the celery, onion, poblano, and garlic for a couple of minutes. Scrape up the bottom of the pan to incorporate the sausage bits, and cook everything just until it starts to soften. Remove and pour everything into the bowl with the sausage. Add the sage leaves and chopped nuts, mixing everything.
- Gently fold the bread cubes carefully into the sausage mixture. Pour 1 cup of the chicken stock over the entire mixture, making sure to moisten the bread. Fold the mixture carefully, and add a little more stock if needed. The bread cubes should be moist, not wet, and if over-mixed will mush all of the bread into wet crumbles. Taste and season with black pepper. Add everything to a large casserole dish or 12” cast iron skillet.
- Pour melted butter over the top, covering the exposed bread crumbs. Place the stuffing into the smoker (or oven) and allow it to cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden, and most of the liquid has soaked into the stuffing. This time might not enough depending on your smoker, so use a spoon and push against the side of the stuffing to see if there’s still liquid at the bottom, and continue to cook as needed.
- Baking this stuffing in the oven will produce a darker crust on top. Smoking the sausage stuffing will produce delicious wood-fired smoke flavor, but will not create as dark of a crust on top.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Side Dish, Holiday
Keywords: Poblano sausage stuffing, sausage stuffing, side dish, holiday side dish, turkey stuffing