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« Short Ribs with White Polenta | Main | Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Hazelnuts »
Wednesday
Mar022011

Stuffed Focaccia Bread with Sausage and Onions

 

You're going to love this recipe.  This stuffed focaccia is so delicious and such a crowd pleaser. It begins with my old standby focaccia recipe, the one I've made for 15 years, from Carol Field.  I make this bread so much that I don't even need the recipe anymore.  I take the dough, divide it in half and put one piece in a spring form (cheesecake) pan. I make up a stuffing of turkey sausage and plenty of onions and fill the pan and then lay the rest of the dough on top. I make mine spicy with the addition of a habanero chili, but you can certainly leave that out. You can really stuff it with anything you like - swap out the meat for lots of vegetables, like roasted peppers or mushrooms, if you want a vegetarian version. 

I made two of these stuffed focaccias to take to our last Euchre group and they were a hit.  People can pick up a wedge and eat it like a sandwich. Any leftovers are really good the next day - just pop them in the oven and warm them up.  

In a few weeks, I'm going to show you a different version of this same recipe.  Enjoy!

 

Stuffed Focaccia Bread With Sausage and Onions

 

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 6-8

You will need a 9" spring form pan for this recipe

Ingredients:

for the sponge

  • 1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (fast acting, rapid rise, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour

for the dough

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (fast acting, rapid rise, etc.)
  • 1 cup water 
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sponge, above
  • 3.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour (approximately)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt  

for the stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of sausage (I used sweet Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1 very large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 habanero pepper (or any hot chili pepper that you like), minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

for the Topping

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • black pepper, chili flakes, oregano, or any kind of spices you like 

 

Instructions:

To make the sponge:
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl (I use the mixer bowl of my KitchenAid mixer) and stir in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

To make the dough:
Add the yeast, water and the olive oil to the sponge in the mixer bowl. With the dough hook running, add just under 3 cups of the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. The dough should come together in a ball in the mixer bowl and then start sticking to the sides of the bowl. When this happens, add flour by the spoonful and mix again. Each time if you see the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, keep adding flour until the dough isn't real sticky anymore, but not dry. Stop the mixer and touch the dough with your finger. When it is smooth and elastic and not too sticky, it's done. Place the dough in a clean bowl that you have drizzled with a little olive oil. Roll the dough to coat in the olive oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1.25 hours.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing.  In a large skillet, brown the sausage and cook all the way through. Remove from pan and drain any fat, but don't wipe out pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and add the onions and hot pepper with 1 teaspoon of  salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until onions are nicely wilted.  Add garlic and cook for two minutes.  Return sausage to the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.  Add parsley and cheese and toss together. Let the stuffing stay at room temperature until dough is ready - you don't want to refrigerate the stuffing and let it get cold.

 Second Rise:
Punch dough down. Divide in half.  Lightly oil (or spray with nonstick spray) a 9-inch springform pan. Stretch half of the dough into a disc and place in the bottom of the pan.  Spoon stuffing mixture into pan.  Stretch the other piece of dough into a disc and place on top of stuffing.  Place a clean towel over the bread and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F degrees.

divide dough in half and place one piece in bottom of a cheesecake pan

 

fill with stuffing, add rest of dough and sprinkle with toppings
  

Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers, leaving indentations. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, brush lightly to coat, and sprinkle with salt.  Add any other topping spices that you like - I like to add some oregano, chili flakes, ground pepper. 

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top is deep golden brown.  To serve, slice into wedges and eat like a sandwich.

This bread is great the next day.  Simply place on a pan in the oven at 375 and bake for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through.  We've made three meals out of one stuffed focaccia!

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Reader Comments (32)

Gorgeous! Sounds delicious.

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlog is the New Black

I use that same focaccia recipe! I love Carol Field's books.What a great idea of stuffing the bread using a spring form pan.I will try your version tomorrow.

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ambrosino

E' splendida e gustosa ♥

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStefania

This looks terrific, Elaine - do you remove the sausage casings and crumble the meat prior to cooking? It's a little hard to tell from the photo.

I haven't made focaccia in years, but I used the same Carol Field recipe ... time for a walk down memory lane, I think.

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFoodelf

This is a beautiful bread, Elaine, and I bet it tastes just wonderful stuffed with all of those wonderful flavors! Much like a calzone, I'd think. Thanks for sharing this delicious looking recipe! I know my husband and I both would just love it.

Looks wonderful. I have done something similar by using a foccaccia and slicing it across and then placing a frittatta in between the slices. But this looks amazing!

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

wow. who would have thought focaccia could be sooo interesting. Loving this!

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

This looks absolutely out of this world!! I had my very first experience making homemade focaccia this past weekend and have been making sandwiches on it all week.
Great recipe!

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeauty & the Feast

Oh, yeah.... looks even better than the one I made the other day..... I only was using olives, sun dried tomatoes and some cheeses.... but, this..... exactly what they say about focaccia.... "a moveable feast".... this sounds yummy! Thanks for the tips and the recipe....must try it....

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVee

I have some left over home made italian sausage that has been waiting for this recipe. I'm wondering about substituting unbleached bread flour in the foccacia. Would it produce a slightly chewier texture?

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia

I will be trying this recipe for sure! Please come and take a peek at my food blog as well :)

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

This really is inspired, Elaine. I make foccacia almost every week and I can't believe I never thought to stuff it! I can see that the stuffing possibilities would be just about unlimited. Thanks for this!

From The Italian Dish:

Claudia: I would not make this bread with all bread flour, but you may like that texture. It would produce a very chewy bread. I would substitute maybe half of the regular AP flour with half bread flour and see how you like that.

March 4, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, I could smell it from here! I would love this and so would the rest of my family! I especially like the use of a springform pan.

March 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

My son will absolutely love this! I have made stuffed breads before but this one tops them all and love the idea of the use of a springform pan!

March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I knew the minute I saw this recipe that I had to make it. I am a vegetarian though so I used roasted red peppers, cheese and mushrooms. My stuffed foccacia turned out great but I wish I had put in more of the filling! My fault totally!!!

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterveggiechick

I made this for a couple girl friends who came over to catch up this weekend. It made the whole house smell wonderful and they kept asking me how much longer until it was done. It was well worth the wait though! I don't always have the best luck with breads so when I pulled it out of the oven and it looked exactly like the picture I was so excited! Everyone enjoyed it, and the leftovers were just as good the next day. Thanks for the recipe, I love your blog!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShu (Des Moines, IA)

I know a whole lot of people in my family who would be mighty happy to sit down to this. I will make this for sure.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

I am just getting into making my own breads. I saw this recipe and had to try it. It turned out great! It looked, smelled and tasted fantastic and all 4 of my kids gobbled it up! I added some mushrooms - yum!

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlong4

Fantastic!!!!

Just a few weeks ago I baked focaccia with sun dried tomatoes and rosemary, it was great but this is wonderful!! super!!

congratulations for the blog, I love it!!

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoemí

What an unbelievable recipe...my mouth is watering from the photos :)

April 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

This looks and sounds divine! I can't wait to try it!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCiao Florentina

I made this on the weekend and it was absolutely fantastic, can't wait to try the dough as plain focaccia too.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I've been wanting to make this since you posted it. Finally made it for Sunday dinner with freinds. Used Spicy(hot) italian sausage, so dropped the Habenero pepper. I did add green bell peppers and mushrooms. Very good. Thanks.
Darren

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarren

I'm hosting a casual Italian appetizer party soon, and I'm going to feature both a vegetarian and a meat option. It sounds easy and so delicious, and will be the perfect "main" to the rest of the other items I plan on offering. Grazie mille Elaine! I love all your ideas.

Deni

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeni

I stuffed it with sausage, roasted peppers, and gorgonzola. Fantastic!

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

This looks fantastic! I was wondering if it woudl be possible to make this the night before and do the final baking the next day? I wasnt sure if sitting overnight would make the dough funky.

thanks!

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I made this and wrote about it here. It was a huge hit with the whole family! Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermrsblocko

My first receipe on this site and it was magnificent. The house smells wonderful and the taste was amazing...thanks for your receipe.I was anxious to try because they make their own Italian sausage and it has become a staple so it's nice to have a variation

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterApril

I'm am going to try this today! thanks for sharing :)

October 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth c

This is my...5th time? coming back to this recipe.

IT IS AMAZING.

Do yourself a service and make it.

Beautiful photography and clear instructions. Thank you for this blog it is wonderful.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Is the sea salt for the dough the same texture as table salt or is it coarser?

August 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKeikinator

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