Stuffing is a classic holiday side dish – best served with turkey and all the fixings. Here, we’ve given it a sweet and salty twist, while keeping all of the delicious savoury flavours you love. Oh, and we added sausage, which takes delicious to a whole new level.
1 large loaf of fresh French bread or 8 cups of dried stuffing bread cubes
450g Italian sausage (mild or hot, whichever you prefer)
1/4 cup water
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tbs garlic, chopped
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried rosemary
1-2 tbs garlic, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Pinot Gris)
Salt and pepper to taste
If you’re making your own bread cubes, place your oven on broil and move the rack to the top rung. Chop the French loaf into approximately 1 inch cubes. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet (this might take two baking sheets). Broil for approximately 1 minute or until golden brown. Watch it very carefully as once they start to brown they burn very quickly! Flip the bread cubes over and repeat to toast until the other side is golden brown and the bread is dry (another 30s – 1 min). Repeat with a second tray if needed. Cool and set aside. This can be premade and set in a sealed plastic bag for a day or two prior.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Take the sausage out of the casings and place in the pan. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula, and add the water. The water will help break up the sausage into smaller pieces. As the water starts to boil, continue to break up the sausage with the spoon into small pieces. Once the sausage is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. Discard the fat.
Using the same pan, cook the onions and celery over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once they are starting to soften, add the apples, garlic and spices (depending on how much fat is left in the pan, you might need to add 1 tbs of oil to prevent burning). Sauté until fragrant and apples are starting to soften. Add the cranberries and nuts, and return the sausage to the pan. Sauté for 1-2 mins to incorporate all the flavours and heat through. Again, this can be made a day or two before and refrigerated until the day of.
On the day of your feast, preheat the oven to 375F. To assemble your stuffing, mix together the sausage mixture and the bread cubes in a large bowl. In another medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup, mix together the chicken broth, wine and eggs. Slowly pour the mixture over the stuffing ensuring all the bread cubes have been coated. Toss to ensure everything is coated with the liquid and the sausage mixture is evenly distributed through the bread cubes. Place the mixture into a 9×13 pan (it will be very full – use 2 if you need to) and distribute to ensure there is an even layer.
Bake the stuffing for about 45 mins until the mixture is hot all the way through and no liquid remains on a knife when inserted into the middle. It should be lightly crispy on the top.