I’m deep into my preparation for next week’s Thanksgiving meal but as I’m posting the recipe and pictures for this stuffing that I made last year I’m having second thoughts about the stuffing I’m planning to make this year because the sausage-apple stuffing was so good!
One of the things that I love the most about Thanksgiving food is all of the fresh herbs that get used and this recipe calls for the Thanksgiving trifecta: sage, rosemary, and thyme. (Cue the Simon and Garfunkel song.)
This stuffing also incorporates another of my favorite food combinations: mixing salty and sweet components– in this case, adding apples and sausage to the rest of the more standard stuffing ingredients of bread, celery, leeks, and chicken broth. There is one more unexpected stuffing ingredient in this dish and that is parsnips. I love parsnips, (as seen here and here) and they really do add a different dimension that is a little sweet and a little spicy which compliments everything else that is going on.
You’re going to need a REALLY big bowl or pan to mix all of the ingredients up together, and fortunately my mom saved my grandma’s old oversized roasting pan for just this sort of thing. In fact, I think this is the one time of the year the pan comes out of the attic to shine, and shine it does.
Mmm, look at that golden goodness. If I remember correctly there were no leftovers of this particular dish, so if you are in need of a stuffing recipe for your Thanksgiving meal I highly recommend this one!
Sausage-Apple Stuffing (recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli found at www.foodnetwork.com)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for tasting
- 6 medium firm apples (such as Macoun or Braeburn), peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 12 slices white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, broken into bite-size pieces
- 10 sage leaves, cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 6 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 pound small parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it melts and starts to brown; add the apples, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the honey and vinegar, then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat, then transfer to one side of a large rimmed baking sheet; add the sausage to the other side. Bake until the sausage is cooked through and the bread is toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sausage and bread to the bowl with the apples; add the sage, thyme and rosemary.
Heat another 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add half each of the leeks, celery and parsnips, and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the sausage-apple mixture. Add the remaining leeks, celery and parsnips, and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook about 8 minutes; transfer to the bowl and toss. Warm a spoonful of the stuffing in the skillet with a touch of butter and taste the seasoning; adjust as needed. (It’s so important to taste your stuffing while it’s hot to get a sense of the seasonings and flavors.) Add the chicken stock to the bowl and toss to moisten all of the ingredients.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the dish and dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 40 more minutes.