Apple, Cranberry, & Sausage Stuffing
Stuffing is one of those universal side dishes not just meant to be eaten during the holiday season because let’s get real: it is too damn spanking good! It is a favorite amongst everyone, including the crazed carb counters of the family (you know the health nuts that don’t “indulge” in anything except dried bark…yuck).
I am obsessed with my Mom’s stuffing. She is constantly changing her recipe up and adding new and different ingredients to it, but overall it always has the same great taste that keeps me coming back for seconds, thirds and even fourths (I do love my carbs).
The key to great stuffing is to treat it almost like a bread pudding. You want to use the bread as a sponge to soak up as much flavorful liquid as possible in order to achieve a more custard-like texture. The overall taste should be firm, but soft and tender at the same time.
I have to say that this recipe is probably one of my new favorites that I am definitely going to be using at the next Thanksgiving I attend (that is if my mother let’s me use her kitchen). The sweet cranberries, spicy sausage, and tart apples create a flavor explosion of epic proportions that are out of the world delicious. Add in the spongy pudding like texture of the bread and prepare yourself to be wow-ed.
Ingredients: Yields about 6 servings
- 1 lb. Ground Spicy Sausage, removed from its casing
- 2 Small Granny Smith Apples, cubed
- 3 Celery Stalks, diced
- ½ c. Dried Cranberries
- 1 tsp. Garlic, minced
- ½ Onion, cubed
- 1 tsp. Butter plus a little extra to top with
- ¼ c. Parsley, chopped
- ½ Loaf of Dry Italian bread, cubed (The trick to this recipe is dry bread. I usually let mine sit out overnight for 1 day. If you are on a time crunch you can always toast it instead and use it that way. Stale bread tends to be chewy and will create a leathery texture…yuck).
- 1 Cube of Knorr Chicken Style Stock
- ½ c. Dry White Wine
- 1 Egg, whipped
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- Fresh sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme, & Sage, coarsely chopped
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the ground sausage with a little olive oil and brown (about 8-10 minutes).
- Remove from the pan and set aside. You do not want to fully cook the sausage since you are going to bake it in the oven. In the same pan add the butter, garlic apple, carrots, onion, cranberries and celery. Sauté the ingredients for about 8 minutes.
- Add the Knorr cube and wine and allow to cook down. Remove from the stove and set aside (allow to cool down a bit so you don’t scramble the egg when it is added).
- In a large baking dish add the sausage and the vegetable/cranberry/apple/bread mixture. Mix in the fresh herbs, salt, pepper, whipped egg and parsley. Top with pads of butter (I usually use about 2 tablespoons and cube them small).
- Cover with tinfoil and bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove the tin foil that last 15 minutes of baking. Enjoy!