Sausage, Pumpkin and Kale Stuffing

This recipe is decidedly a hack – upon researching recipes for Thanksgiving, I came across a stuffing that looked to be a welcomed alternative to my tried and true Classic Stuffing.  Given that this year’s celebration was a pot luck extravaganza, why not two stuffings instead of one?  Truthfully, I wanted to do a third Oyster Dressing like the ones we used to have at my paternal grandmother’s house every year, but not enough people were into oysters, so I skipped it.

The original recipe from Food Network Kitchens is good, but I lost the leeks and butternut squash for caramelized red onions and canned pumpkin – MUCH easier, which is really what you are going for at Thanksgiving.  The result was moist, flavorful and complex – a nice accompaniment to turkey and gravy, if I might say so myself.  Give this one a try if you are looking to make a new tradition or two – how can you form a tradition if you don’t try something out for the first time, right? Right?!?

Recipe for

Sausage, Pumpkin and Kale Stuffing

2 round loaves of foccacia (onion or herb)
1 stick of butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 can of pumpkin
1 can of chicken stock (or 2 cups of homemade stock)
1  red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs. of olive oil
2 tbs. of butter
1 lb. of sweet italian sausage
1 bunch of kale
1 tsp. of whole fennel seeds
1 tsp. of rubbed sage
1 tsp. of white pepper
shredded pecorino romano

Cube foccacia and spread on a cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350° oven until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add the white pepper, sage, fennel seeds, pumpkin and chicken stock and mix until incorporated.  Set aside.

In a skillet, brown the sausage and remove with a slotted spoon.  Add the olive oil and sauté the kale until wilted.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to sausage.  Add the butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium low.  Let the onions sweat it out in the pan until dark brown and soft, about 10 minutes.

In a huge bowl, add the foccacia cubes, sausage and kale, and caramelized onions.  Toss to combine and then pour in the pumpkin mixture.  Turn out into a greased 13x9x2 casserole and bake in a 375° oven until puffy and golden on top, about 35-45 minutes.