Dare I say this may be my favorite holiday stuffing? This challah stuffing is generously flavored with sautéd leeks, savory sausage, sweet dried cherries and loads of herbaceous thyme and oregano.
Challah Stuffing with Sausage
It’s all about the side dishes when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner and my favorite is any kind of savory bread pudding with leeks or a savory sausage stuffing.
And dare I say that this challah stuffing may be one of my all time favorite ways to make stuffing? Challah is one of my favorite breads to make and I love having fun with all the flavors. Usually, challah is made sweet but when challah is made savory, it can be a fantastic base for stuffings.
This mushroom challah stuffing doesn’t lack flavor, I’ll tell you that right now! Savory sausage is browned and caramelized and tossed with sautéd vegetables, mushrooms and herbs and once baked, the top of the stuffing gets golden brown and the middle stays tender and so delicious!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The challah bread gives the challah stuffing a lightly sweet flavor and tender texture.
- This stuffing has lots of flavors! The combination of the savory mushrooms and leeks with the sweet dried cherries is fantastic!
- Perfect to make ahead! Assemble the stuffing up to a day in advance uncooked or cook ahead and heat through when you’re ready to serve.
- Challah Bread: Challah is Jewish braided bread with eggs and yeast, which creates a lovely airy and eggy texture. When challah is made into stuffing, the middle stays soft and the outside gets golden brown and perfectly crisp. You can buy challah in the bakery section of grocery stores or you can make your own savory garlic rosemary challah would would be delicious!
- Sausage: If keeping Kosher, use an Italian flavored turkey or chicken sausage and if not, a pork Italian sausage works as well.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is used to saute the vegetables and to top the challah stuffing before it’s baked.
- Leeks: Fresh leeks that are sliced thin are sautéed in the butter and give the stuffing a great savory flavor. Leeks are in the onion family and have a more tender and slightly sweet flavor.
- Celery: Chop the celery into 1/2 inch cubes so the vegetables are all about the same size. I also like using the leaves on the celery stalks as well.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh oregano and fresh thyme are finely chopped. Remove the leaves from the stem then give the leaves a good chop.
- Mushrooms: White button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms work great here.
- Dried Cherries: If dried cherries are not available, substitute with dried cranberries.
- Chicken Stock: I like using a chicken stock base, which gives great flavor. Mix a few teaspoons of the stock base into water and pour into the stuffing mixture.
How to Make Challah Stuffing
Prep the Challah
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cut challah into 1 inch cubes.
- Spread the challah cubes onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes just to dry the bread out a bit.
Brown the Sausage
- Crumble the sausage and add to a skillet and place over medium heat.
- Cook sausage until caramelized and sausage is cooked through, then remove and set aside.
Saute the Vegetable Mixture
- Melt butter in a wide skillet and add leeks and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add chopped celery and continue sautéing for another 2-3 minutes until celery begins to soften.
- Add the chopped mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes, giving everything a good stir.
- Add the chopped herbs and dried cherries and continue sautéing for another minute so the dried cherries begin to plump up and herbs are fragrant.
- Add the cooked sausage and pour in the chicken stock and give everything a good stir. Continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes to reduce the stock slightly and so all the flavors can blend together.
Assemble the Challah Stuffing
- Add the cubed challah to a large bowl and pour in the mushroom mixture.
- Give everything a really good stir so all of the bread is coated with the liquid and vegetables.
- Add the stuffing to a buttered casserole dish and dot butter on top.
- Bake the stuffing for 40-45 minutes and tent with foil for the last 10 minutes if the top of the stuffing is getting too browned too quickly.
Yes! You can either assemble before baking up to 1 day in advance or bake the stuffing fully, then let cool and when ready to re-heat, place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until warmed through.
If you don’t like celery in your stuffing, you can omit it all together or substitute with a chopped apple or chopped fennel.
Other ingredients you can add are dried cranberries, chopped apple, wilted spinach or substitute other read for the challah such as white bread or sourdough bread.
Other Sides for Fall and Thanksgiving
- Savory Bread Pudding with Leeks and Gruyere
- Savory Sausage Bread Pudding with Spinach
- Parmesan Roasted Delicata Squash
- Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest
Challah Stuffing with Leeks and Sausage
- 1 challah loaf cut into 1 inch cubes, day old preferred
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage pork sausage or turkey sausage
- 4 tablespoons butter divided (non-dairy butter if keeping Kosher)
- 1 leek thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups button mushrooms cut in quarters
- 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves removed and chopped
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped
- 4 ounces dried cherries or cranberries
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- If your challah is fresh, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place challah cubes on a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes until dried out a bit.
- Break up sausgae in a skillet and palce over medium heat. Cook sausage until caramelized and cooked all the way through, then set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt butter and add the leeks and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add celery and continue sautéing for another 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms begin to soften, for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped herbs and dried cranberries and season with salt and pepper and continue sauteing for another minute until the herbs are fragrant and dried cherries are plump.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for another minute to reduce slighlty and so all the flavors can meld together.
- Place the dried challah cubes into a large bowl and pour the vegetable mixture over and give everything a good mix so the bread is coated with the stock and cooked vegetables.
- Spread 1 tablespoons of butter into a 2-3 quart baking dish and pour stuffing mixture in.
- Dot the challah stuffing with butter all over the top and bake at 3about 40-45 minutes. Tent with foil if the top is getting too browned for the last 10 minutes.