Home Ec: Thanksgiving Basics--Charlie's Prune and Sausage Stuffing

This is Charlie's sausage and prune stuffing, which I have whole-heartedly adopted as my own.  The prunes and wine offer much-needed acid to balance out the sweetness of the vegetables, and everything else on the Thanksgiving table.

This stuffing is SO GOOD when fried up the next day, served with a poached egg for breakfast.  Total heaven.

photo: Aya Brackett for Martha Stewart

1 loaf (2 pounds) day-old country bread, crust removed and bread torn into 1-inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
12 ounces prunes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
2 bunches hearty leafy greens, such as Tuscan kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
5 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 250°F. Bake bread on a baking sheet in a single layer until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove bread, and let cool. Raise oven temperature to 350°F.

Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add prunes, and let soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook greens until tender, seasoning with salt as you go, about 10 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Let cool. Wipe out skillet.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown sausage, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Add more oil to skillet if needed, and cook celery, carrots, and onions until tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain prunes, reserving poaching liquid. Add prunes, bread, greens, and vegetable mixture to bowl with sausage. Gradually add reserved poaching liquid (about 2 1/2 cups) and wine, stirring to combine. Stir in parsley, sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.  The mixture should be really juicy, salty, and balanced with the acid from the wine.

Divide stuffing between two buttered  9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Dot tops with butter. Bake until browned, about 45 minutes.


  1. Yum, thank-you!

  2. God does this look delicious, would cornbread be a terrible substitution for the country loaf? (Too sweet, too crumbly? I've never really made stuffing so I'm guessing here...)
    Really fun website, I'm originally from SF and would so love to come to you guys' amazing-looking events if I didn't live a continent away!

    1. Hi Eva! You can definitely try it with cornbread..why not? I like the way the country loaf absorbs the stock and gets sort of chewy and moist, and I'm not sure that would happen with cornbread, but I do bet it would be tasty nonetheless!

  3. Made this for yesterday's feast. It was fantastic. I substituted rainbow chard for the kale, and upped the proportions (3 bunches instead of two).

    1. Hi Michael! That sounds awesome--I used a TON of random greens from my garden this time...broccoli leaves, rapini and dino kale, and it was fantastic. I love getting lots of greens and prunes in every serving. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!