Erin Zimmer's Nana got this recipe from her in-laws, who lived in Ireland their entire lives and loved a good potato recipe; this one wasn't specifically for Thanksgiving. Zimmer's grandparents moved to the States from Ireland in the 1940s, and her Nana has made this every Thanksgiving since.
Make Ahead: The stuffing can be baked in its aluminum-foil pouches up to 2 days in advance; let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Servings: 12 generous servings
- 10 medium russet potatoes (about 5 pounds)
- 12 slices (8 ounces) white bread
- 24 ounces sausage, preferably a blend of Jimmy Dean spicy and regular sausage (if using links, remove the casings)
- 3 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Place in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until they are just tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander and let dry for several minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl; use a potato masher or fork to break the potatoes into a chunky mash.
Meanwhile, toast the bread slices so they are nicely browned and crisp (but not burnt). Break into bite-size pieces and add to the potatoes.
Line a large plate with several layers of paper towels.
Heat a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for 12 to 16 minutes, using a wooden spoon or firm spatula to break up any clumps, until thoroughly cooked through. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and drain. Make sure no pieces of sausage are larger than the pieces of toasted bread.
Add the cooked sausage to the potatoes and toasted bread, along with the celery, onion and thyme; season liberally with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Divide the mixture into 2 or 3 portions. Wrap each portion well in aluminum foil by creating a tightly sealed pouch. Bake the pouches in the oven for 45 minutes.
When ready to serve, open the packets carefully to avoid escaping steam. Empty their contents into a serving bowl; serve hot.
From Erin Zimmer.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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