It's the stuffing that's, hands-down, my favorite dish at Thanksgiving. I love the succulent dark meat of a turkey, my Grandmother's No-Cook Cranberry Orange Relish, and fluffy mashed potatoes, but a moist and savory stuffing is a hard thing to beat. Dallas-based Empire Baking Company is sharing with Foodista readers some of their favorite recipes to make at home for the Thanksgiving holiday and I love their festive cranberry, apple and sausage stuffing recipe (also check out their decadent - and easy! - Pumpkin Bread Trifle recipe here). This stuffing is the perfect balance of savory from the sage sausage and sweet-tart from Granny Smith apples and cranberries, which also add a splash of color and texture. Get started early and make your stuffing the day before, then cover and reheat while your turkey is resting before carving!
Apple, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing
Recipe courtesy of Tamie Hoffman, Empire Baking Company
16 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes, equal parts walnut, scallion and sourdough (1 1/2 pounds)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 Tablespoon C & J Farms Scarbourough seasonings or Italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, seasonings , salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.
In the same sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.