This is one of my favorite stuffing recipes any time of year, and it's perfect for the holidays. The stuffing offers many textures and flavors. Loaded with savory sausage, sweet cranberries, tart apples and crunchy pecans, this great side dish is sure to please everyone on your dinner guest list. I like to use a Granny Smith apple, but feel free to experiment with any baking apple. If you prefer, you also may substitute walnuts for the pecans.
I'd suggest you bake this dressing on the side and not stuff your turkey. Instead, fill your turkey with celery, onion, carrots and thyme. By the time stuffing inside your turkey cooks, the breast usually dries. There also are food safety concerns about stuffing your bird.
This side dish goes great with chicken, too! For a nice holiday garnish, sprinkle some extra dried cranberries and fresh chopped parsley on top right before serving.
COUNTRY-STYLE STUFFING WITH SAUSAGE, APPLES AND CRANBERRIES
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
1 pound breakfast sausage, casing removed, broken into bite-size chunks
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon. ground sage (or use about 8-10 fresh sage leaves)
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
10 cups cornbread, crumbled into 1-inch cubes
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2-3 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat oil in a medium sautĂ© pan and cook sausage until brown, then add the onions and celery and sautĂ© over medium heat until vegetables soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the apple and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, pecans, sage, cranberries, parsley and the sausage mixture. Add the egg and chicken stock as needed and mix until moist. Transfer to a baking dish.
Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 35 to 45 minutes. You may cover with aluminum foil when you begin baking and then remove the foil during the last 10-15 minutes to allow the top to brown.
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