Now that Halloween is officially over, it's time to start getting our Thanksgiving menus together. We always have our traditional Thanksgiving Dressing on Turkey Day, but a few years ago when my we started having a December "Dickens Dinner" with my sister's family, I started making this New England Sausage and Dried Cranberry Stuffing. Since I don't eat pork, I substitute chicken or turkey sausage and even the pork-eaters love this stuffing. Whether you're looking for a new recipe for Thanksgiving or one of the many holiday dinners ahead of us, this recipe is worth trying!
New England Sausage and Dried Cranberry Stuffing
Serves 5 - 6
6 cups white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 pound sausage, casings removed (traditional, chicken, or turkey)
1/4 stick butter
3 cups onion
1/2 pound tart green apples (or your choice), peeled, cored, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 1/2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup chicken broth
1. Place bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake until slightly dry, about 15 - 20 minutes. Cool completely. You can also leave the cubes out overnight to dry.
2. Sauté the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl. Pour off any drippings from the skillet.
3. Using the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions, apples, celery, and poultry seasoning to the skillet. Sauté until onions are softened, about 5 – 8 minutes.
4. Mix in dried cranberries. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the bread, eggs, and parsley. Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth to moisten stuffing depending on how most you like it (can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate).
5. Butter a baking dish (I used a 7 x 11-inch glass dish). Transfer stuffing to the dish, cover, and bake at 350F until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Notes: I halved the original recipe, which serves 10. It calls for 4 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary (so that would be 2 teaspoons for the half batch) and the parsley to be fresh. Due to personal preference, I omitted the rosemary and substituted dried parsley.