I have been making this stuffing for a few years now. Obviously my husband avoids it because of the sausage in it (but hey that’s more for me). I remember the first time I came across this recipe I was hesitant to try it just because it sounded kind of weird to me. Walnuts,apples,sausage in a stuffing? But I was intrigued by all these different flavors and just went for it. What a surprise! It was REALLY good. It was soft with a little crunch, it was sweet but savory it is a very well balanced out dish. It really tastes like the holidays on a spoon. I usually make it for Christmas but I’ll be making it for Thanksgiving this year. This sure beats that old boring stale flavorless stuffing any day. And I think as it sits it almost tastes even better.
- 1 pound mild bulk breakfast sausage (jimmy dean etc…) I wanted to test this out to see how the meatless version would taste & used a vegetarian substitute which was morningstar farms brand sausage.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks) I didn’t use these…
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped ( I used Gala apples and they are sweeter)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 cups bread cubes (or any type of bagged stuffing mix)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegetarians)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Sauté the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and poultry seasoning to the skillet and sauté until the leeks are soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in the drained cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons (bread crumbs) and parsley. Next add the chicken stock (or veggie stock) a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn’t be mushy.Mix the walnuts into the stuffing or if you want you may add them to the top while baking whichever you prefer. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish..(The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.) But of course don’t add the nuts or they will be come soggy.
Bake in a rectangular casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the center is nice and hot.(make sure to watch the walnuts nuts if you placed them on the top so that they do no burn just toast. Remove let sit about 5 minutes and serve.
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