Sage sausage, dried cranberries, fresh herbs and tart apples create the best stuffing I have ever tasted. I steered clear of stuffing for as long as I can remember. It was the one thing on the Thanksgiving table that I avoided at all costs. A few years ago, I decided to try stuffing once again and I started looking around for something different.
I found the original recipe for this stuffing on allrecipes.com. Could 1,628 5 star reviews be wrong?! I doubt that very much. I've changed it over the years according to our tastes, but however you make it, this is truly awesome stuffing.
Sausage, Cranberry and Apple Stuffing
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
Yields: 8-10 servings
6 cups sourdough bread, cut into 3/4"-1" cubes
1 pound ground sage sausage, regular sausage is fine if you can't find sage
1 cup chopped onion, or 1 small onion
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery, or 2 medium stalks
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage or 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped small
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter, melted
One or Two days before baking the stuffing: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the bread cubes across a large baking sheet. Toast the bread for 10-15 minutes or until crispy on the outside. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in a bowl or container with a loose cover. Let the bread dry out for a day or so before making the rest of the stuffing. The bread cubes will seem rock hard when it is finally time to make the stuffing, but they will cook up perfectly soft and stay separate within the stuffing.
When ready to make the stuffing (either the day before or the day you want to bake it): In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the onions and the sausage. Crumble the sausage as it cooks until it is browned. Add the celery, rosemary, sage and thyme; continue to cook and stir to combine for a couple minutes or until the mixture is fragrant.
Pour the sausage mixture over the bread in the bowl. Add the apples, dried cranberries and parsley. Toss to combine. (If you are preparing this the day before, skip to the directions below.) Drizzle with the turkey stock and melted butter and mix gently. Pour the stuffing mixture into a 9x13 pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover the stuffing, stir and bake another 10-15 minutes to toast the top.
* If you are preparing this in advance, reserve all the liquids in a separate container. Place the stuffing mixture in the refrigerator along with the separate liquids. Bring the stuffing mixture to room temperature, drizzle with the turkey stock and butter and then toss to combine. Place in a 9x13 dish and bake as directed above.