This hearty casserole from Chef Mark Steuer of Chicago’s Funkenhausen, is inspired by German beer halls, getting its satisfying chew from day-old soft pretzels. While excellent baked until crispy in a skillet or roasting pan, it also makes a fine stuffing for poultry or pork. If using as a stuffing for whole birds, add the mixture to the cavity immediately before roasting.
- 10 cups (1 lb. 12 oz.) day-old soft pretzels, cut in 1-in. pieces
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 cup (5 oz.) carrots, finely chopped
- 1 cup (4¾ oz.) celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup (5½ oz.) onions, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp.)
- ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. bratwurst or other mild sausage, casings removed
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup chicken stock
- One 11-oz. can condensed cream of celery soup
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the pretzels out in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets, then transfer to the oven and toast until the pretzel pieces are until just lightly golden and crispy, 15–17 minutes. Transfer the pretzel pieces to a large bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foam begins to subside, add the carrots, celery, onions, season lightly with koshers salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 12–14 minutes. Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and continue cooking until fragrant, 2–3 minutes more. Stir in the sage, thyme, parsley, and black pepper, remove from heat, then scrape the mixture into the bowl with the pretzel pieces.
Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer the sausage and any drippings to the pretzel mixture. Stir gently to combine, then add the eggs, chicken stock, and cream of celery soup. Use a silicone spatula to fold the mixture together. Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet or roasting pan, then transfer the stuffing into it, pressing down gently with a spatula. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown and slightly crispy on the edges, 20-30 minutes more.