Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sausage and apple stuffing

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Usually my Dad likes to cook everything from scratch himself during holiday feasts like Christmas and my job is simply to make Stovetop stuffing. One year some time ago he didn't like the way his Stovetop turned out so then it became "my job." This year, we split the cooking. He still did the turkey, gravy and sauteed mushrooms with herbs, and I did the stuffing (but homemade this time), mashed potatoes, the appetizer and a salad.

This homemade stuffing recipe is adapted from one we found in Canadian Living magazine of a sausage walnut stuffing loaf. My changes were basically to add apple, fennel and green onion, and also substitute turkey stock for chicken. Lastly, since I prefer loose stuffing, I didn't form it into a loaf.

Sausage and apple stuffing
Serves about 12 people

olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
one onion, finely diced
two stalks of celery, diced
quarter of a fennel bulb, diced
1 diced apple (skin left on)
handful of chopped walnuts
chopped fresh sage
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh green onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup turkey stock
9 cups cubed day-old bread
2 beaten eggs
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add some olive oil to a hot wok or high-sided frying pan. Remove sausage from casings and drop in little chunks of the sausage meat, breaking them up while cooking. When the sausage is just cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel to let it drain.

Drain most of the sausage fat from the hot pan, too, and add more olive oil. Cook the diced onion, celery, fennel and apple for a few minutes until all vegetables are coated and the onion is glassy. Season. Add the sausages, herbs and stock. Cook a few more minutes, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

(I made this preceding part of the recipe one day in advance and kept it in the fridge overnight.)

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Beat two eggs in a separate bowl.

Combine the cooled sausage mixture, eggs and bread in a large mixing bowl. Scrape into a large rectangular baking dish that's buttered or better yet, lined with parchment-paper. Bake covered at 375 for 40 minutes and uncovered for another 20 to get a crispy golden top. Garnish with chopped green onion tops.

My only complaint with this recipe is that it turned out a bit too dry after the baking time. Next time I will try adding more liquid, say 1.5 — 2 cups of stock instead of 1 cup.


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