Thursday, November 26, 2009
I'm thankful for stuffing
Stuffing is my absolute favorite part of a Thanksgiving feast.
The turkey’s always great, especially with homemade gravy, and mashed potatoes are a given, but stuffing always seems to be that dish that really kicks up the texture and flavor factor.
For the past three years, my family has trusted me with bringing the stuffing, and I haven’t had a bad review yet. I was flattered when my younger sister Lydia — she’s kind of the picky eater of our family — requested I bring the same stuffing I made last year.
Of the many things I’m thankful for (don’t even get me started), at the moment I’m grateful my family liked the stuffing, but also saved me some to bring home.
Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage and Apples
12 cups 1/2 –to-1-inch sourdough bread cubes, crust removed (I bought two sourdough rounds and had just a little to spare)
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 cups chopped white onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 large Granny Smith (or other tart) apples, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
I prefer to cut the sourdough into cubes the day before, letting them get a little stale on cookie sheets set out on the counter.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake bread cubes for roughly 15 minutes, giving them time to dry out a little bit. When you take the bread out of the oven, bump the temperature up to 375 degrees.
While the bread is baking, cook sausage in large frying pan until light brown before adding onions and celery. Cook until onions and celery soften slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in apples and cook for another 3-4 minutes before mixing in thyme and poultry seasoning and cooking for another minute or two.
Place baked bread crumbs in a large bowl and toss with sausage mix. Drizzle stuffing mix with chicken broth until you get desired results — two cups wasn’t quite enough for me, and I think three cups was enough to keep the top layer crisp while still retaining a good, moist consistency underneath.
Grease 9-by-13 glass casserole dish with butter and add stuffing mix. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes to crisp the top.