One of the staples at my family Thanksgiving is my grandmothers meat stuffing. Meat stuffing may seem weird to many people since it isnt one of the typical T-day dishes. It was even a little weird to me growing up! But after I got over it, it became my favorite thing on the table that I look forward to every year. Think a big casserole with the flavors of stuffing but instead of bread, it’s mostly just ground meat! I use sausage and beef for the meat, and then there is a lot of potato and breadcrumbs to hold everything together. And butter. Lots of butter!
My family history with this Meat Stuffing Recipe
When I wrote this recipe, it was the first year that my grandmother didn’t have her own kitchen for thanksgiving, so it was up to my mom and I to re-create it. Asking her for the recipe proved fruitless however due to a bit of memory loss. My mom and I talked on the phone beforehand trying to figure out exactly what was in this thing, but I think it’s been a little different every year for at least the past 3 years so it was hard to remember. In the end, we came up with something that everyone agreed was delicious and “pretty close to grandma’s version”. The thing we disagreed about though was HOW it was different. “Less bread” said my Dad. “More bread” said my Mom. I think next year I will take both of their advice. (cause it was perfect)
Origins of this meat stuffing recipe
My Grandmother is Italian American, but a lot of feedback I have received since I posted this recipe is that meat stuffing is a popular French Canadian dish as well! It seems like that version has some warming spices like cinnamon and clove. People tell me, “My Mémère makes this same recipe!” I love hearing that kind of feedback! It also makes me wonder, why was my Italian Grandmother making a French Canadian recipe? Let me know in the comments if your family makes something like this and we can figure out where it came from!
Lets get started!
First cook the beef and sausage in a pan, then pour it all into a bowl. Try and get some nice browning at this step. This recipe also makes a lot so it stretches the limits of my pans and bowls!
In the same pan after removing the meat, add the butter, onion and celery for a few minutes, then the garlic. Sometimes at this step I also add a little bit of sage, rosemary, and thyme, but it’s not in the “official” recipe.
Parsley, mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs, the veggies, and the meats ready to be all mixed together and baked. After mixing everything, you can hold this stuffing in the fridge a few days, then bake it when it’s time to eat. I didn’t think that baking it would change the flavor of the meat stuffing much, but it actually does!
Not the most pretty food, but such a classic dish that will always remind me of thanksgiving with my family! My all time favorite stuffing, for me Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it. My OTHER favorite stuffing is made from tater tots!
A lot of people ask where I got this pan, I grabbed it at a vintage market!
Variations on Meat Stuffing
I mentioned earlier that I love to add a little sage, rosemary, and thyme to the onions sometimes. I also like to do Italian sausage sometimes instead of breakfast sausage. Or a little of both! My grandmother made it a little different every year, so I like to honor that tradition and switch it up.
The more French Canadian versions I have seen will also sometimes use veal in addition to the other meats, cinnamon, clove, and /or poultry seasoning.
Grandma’s Meat Stuffing
- 1 pound breakfast sausage
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large handful parsley
- 1.5 cups mashed potato
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Cook beef and sausage in a frying pan. Remove from pan and into a large bowl. Drain excess fat but keep some in the pan.
- Add the butter to the pan. sauté onions, celery and garlic in butter over low heat for about 5 minutes. Once softened, add to the large bowl with the meat.
- Add the parsley, potato, and breadcrumbs to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add the chicken stock, starting with half, and continuing to add a little more if needed to soften.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan (or two). You can store in the fridge for up to a few days before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350. Bake for an hour until heated through and lightly brown on top.