Stress less at the holidays by getting your stuffing halfway done before T-Day. Simply prepare the bread cubes, sausage and vegetables, then stop and freeze. Finish and bake it on the big day. Once you have the prep in the bag, the rest is easy.
Cook’s NoteYou can serve the stuffing right away instead of freezing it. After tossing it with the bread cubes, bake it, covered, until hot, about 30 minutes. Uncover the stuffing, and continue to bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes more.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
Melt 5 tablespoons of the remaining butter in the skillet. Add the onions, celery, sage, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the mixture to the bowl with the sausage; add the bread cubes, and toss to coat.
Let the bread-sausage mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer it to a resealable plastic bag, label and date, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
To serve, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Heat the stock and 4 tablespoons of the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Whisk the eggs and parsley together in a large bowl. Break the frozen stuffing with your hands into smaller chunks, add to the bowl and toss. Add the stock-butter mixture, and toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, and dot with the 2 remaining tablespoons butter. Cover tightly with foil, and bake until the stuffing is hot, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes more. Serve warm.