I'm going to go out on a limb and say stuffing is the quintessential Thanksgiving dish. Some people are going to take issue with this; after all, we do call it "turkey day" but tell me this: when else during the year do you have stuffing as part of the meal? Christmas perhaps? Okay...maybe. How about New Years? See what I mean? Stuffing is synonymous with Thanksgiving. For that reason, I usually find myself making not one, but two different stuffings. One is cornbread based, to appease the Southern side of the family. The other is all about the sourdough; this recipe has basically everything you could want in a sourdough bread stuffing, from the savory, salty goodness of the sausage to the sweetness of the apples and golden raisins. For those of you wanting to get a jumpstart on the big meal, this recipe can be made (up to step #4 below) one day ahead, then finished in the oven prior to serving. Important: let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy! I know I sure will.
Yield: 16 servings
1 1/2-pound loaf sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 13 cups)
2 pounds bulk pork breakfast sausage
2 large white onions, chopped (about 4 generous cups)
2 cups chopped celery (about 5 stalks)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
6 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Granny Smith apples (about 28 ounces)
3/4 cup golden raisins (Sultanas) (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth or turkey stock
3 large eggs
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread bread cubes in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer bread to very large bowl.
- Sauté sausage in heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up into small pieces with back of fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl with bread cubes. Add onions and celery to drippings in skillet; sauté until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread-sausage mixture (do not clean skillet).
- Melt two tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread mixture; mix in raisins.
- Melt remaining two tablespoons butter in same skillet over low heat. Add two tablespoons sage; stir 30 seconds. Add sage butter to bowl with bread-sausage mixture; toss to blend. Season stuffing with salt and freshlyground black pepper. *Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk broth and eggs in medium bowl; add to stuffing and toss to mix. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake stuffing uncovered until top is golden and crisp in spots, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes and serve.