Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Stuffing?  I know, I know...I'm a little late to the Thanksgiving party, huh?  Well, as I said, we didn't cook Thanksgiving this year since we were invited to a lovely get-together with friends instead.  Still, Mr. Pears was feeling a little deprived of cooking the annual turkey so we bought one and had a little Thanksgiving of our own here this past weekend.

We didn't do much, just cooked a 15 lb turkey for the two of us, two toddlers and a couple of fat Chihuahuas.  We also had the aforementioned stuffing and a celery gratin that will not be making the blog.  It wasn't horrible but it wasn't a huge hit either.

We finished it off with some leftover (Tollhouse recipe!) chocolate cookies and a glass of wine.  Delicious.  The turkey turned out great as usual (great job honey!) and we both really loved the stuffing.  I thought I'd share it since some of you may be serving stuffing with your Christmas ham/goose/prime rib. :)

Ina Garten calls this her Sausage and Herb Stuffing but you won't find any herbs on the ingredients list.  It does have Granny Smith apples, and though it is a very hearty stuffing with such large pieces of bread and veggies, it still has a great classic "stuffing" (or dressing!) taste.  StoveTop, step aside.

Sausange and Herb Apple Stuffing, adapted from Ina Garten 
10 cups 1 inch bread cubes (use whatever "good" bread you want!  I used some rye and some french bread)
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (1 large or two medium onions)
1 cup medium-diced celery (about 3 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples. cored and cut into large pieces (no need to peel!)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lb sausage (without casings)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dried cranberries (I left these out because I didn't have any...)

** a note on the bread** If you make bread, or buy artisan breads at the store, don't throw away the ends!  Just toss them in a large freezer bag and freeze them.  When you want to make stuffing or croutons just defrost those leftovers overnight!

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Put the bread cubes on a baking tray and bake them for about 7 minutes and then transfer them to a large bowl.

While the bread is toasting in the oven, melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the onions, celery, and apples.  Saute them with the salt and pepper for about 10 minutes or until everything is nice and soft.  Pour the veggies over the breadcrumbs in the large bowl.

Cook the ground sausage in the saute pan until browned (about ten minutes) and then add that to the bowl as well.  Stir in the chicken stock and then pour the whole thing into a baking dish.  Bake it for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Enjoy!

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