Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving - Moist Bread Sausage Apple Stuffing +BONUS

Photo: Before Cooking

This is my mom's classic stuffing recipe, created by merging two recipes from a cookbook so old that the cover has been ripped off and the spine is barely holding together. This stuffing has been served at every major holiday dinner in my family at least the last 15 years. This stuffing won over my stuffing hating brother-in-law. It's THAT good. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get an "after cooking" picture of this or any Thanksgiving dish. You'll have to use your imagination!

Serves 8 with a bit of leftovers

1/2 cup butter
2 cups celery, chopped thin
2 cups onion, diced small
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 3 tbsp dry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 lb ground pork sausage
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup agave syrup or honey
1 loaf multi grain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8-10 cups)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chicken broth

1. Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent and celery tender. Add seasonings and mix well. Remove from heat and pour into an extra large mixing bowl or stock pot.

2. In the same saute pan, cook sausage and apple until sausage cooked through and apples are soft. Add mixture to the bowl of onion and celery.

3. While sausage is cooking, simmer cranberries and agave syrup in a small pot of boiling water (2-3 cups of water) just until cranberry skins start to split. It will only take a few minutes so keep an eye on it. They are ready when you hear them pop. Drain the liquid into a bowl and place the cranberries in a second bowl. Set both aside to cool. Save the liquid for the BONUS RECIPE below.

4. Once vegetable mixture has cooled slightly, add bread cubes to the bowl. Using salad spoons, toss everything to mix well.

5. Add cranberries and gently fold into mixture, careful not to crush them!

6. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs together with the chicken broth. Pour over the stuffing and gently mix to coat.

7. Pack stuffing into greased loaf pans. Cover with tin foil.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, the last 15 minutes uncovered.

Note: It may seem like a lot of butter, but this is what will help with the "Moist" part of the stuffing. The seasoning amounts are a guideline. Add more or less to suit your own tastes. I prefer a bit more poultry seasoning so I add a 1/2 tsp extra. The cranberries can be prepared the night before to save some time. You may chose to stuff the turkey instead of baking the stuffing separately. Go for it - It's even better that way!

Bonus recipe: Jill's Honey Crantini

Use the cooking juice drained from the cranberries to create a tasty holiday martini.

3 oz drained cranberry cooking liquid
2 oz unsweetened REAL cranberry juice (if using Cranberry Cocktail, only use 2 oz cooking liquid)
1 oz vodka
1 oz triple sec
2-3 cranberries per glass for garnish

1. Mix the liquids in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2. Shake and pour into chilled martini glasses.

3. Garnish with cranberries.

4. If it's too tart, add another splash or two of agave syrup while mixing.

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