Thanksgiving Chef Recipe: Bagel & Fennel Sausage Stuffing

“This is a play on a classic Italian stuffing from my childhood — also a happy accident. While prepping for a large thanksgiving dinner I realized I didn’t have enough bread to make the classic version but I had bagels in the freezer. I simply switched it out and was so happy with the results, I never went back!” – Executive Chef, Jeff Seizer

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> Full 21c Chef Family Cookbook

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  • 6 sesame seed bagels
  • 1 lb fresh Italian sausage (mild or hot – your choice)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, keep celery hearts and leaves
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • small bunch of sage
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp toasted fennel
  • 1 tbsp toasted corriander
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb butter (don’t stress the calories, it’s Thanksgiving)


  1. To start, dice bagels to medium 3/4 inch cubes and lightly toast in oven for 10 minutes at 375F. Small dice all the vegetables and finely chop the herbs.
  2. In a large pot (pro-tip: shallow is better) start with the butter in the pan and heat till melted. Add spices and whole garlic clove, cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the sausage, use a wooden spoon and mash till cooked and broken up. Add the veggies and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add herbs, chicken stock and cream, cook down for around 5-10 minutes (1/4 reduced).
    Remove from heat, put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool until you can work it with your hands. Once it’s cooled enough to work with, add the bagel croutons and mix (should feel soggy). Add the eggs and cheese, mix throughout.
  3. Place into baking pan and bake covered for 35 minutes at 350F, remove foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes at 400F.
  4. Let sit and serve just hotter than room temp!