Stuffing (or dressing) is one of my favorite parts of a traditional turkey dinner. This recipe was scammed from Outpost Magazine. Outpost is a natural food store (local chain) in Milwaukee, Wis. (They have the best ‘granola bars’ I’ve ever had. Every time I’m home I make sure to stop there to bring some back to Oregon with me.)
I liked this recipe because it was different from something I would normally try. I’m not a huge fan of baked apple anything (other than pie) and I really don’t care for dried cranberries all that much either. But in this dish both of them work. Plus, as my dad said when he bit into it, they make you feel like the stuffing is actually healthy. (Don’t worry – it’s not!)
- ¾ loaf white bread
- ¾ loaf wheat bread
- 2 lb ground sausage
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 T. fresh sage, minced
- 1 T. fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
- 2 crisp apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 ½ c. dried cranberries
- ⅔ c. fresh parsley
- 3 to 4 c. chicken stock
- ½ c. butter or margarine, melted
- Cube bread and spread evenly on baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the pieces are lightly toasted. Let cool.
- Add sausage to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until well-browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add celery and onions to sausage and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.
- Add fresh herbs to the sausage mixture and cook for another 30 seconds.
- In the bowl of a large crockpot, mix together the toasted bread cubes and sausage mixture. Be sure to get all of the drippings from the pan, too.
- Stir in apples, dried fruit and parsley.
- Add enough stock to the stuffing until it’s very moist, but not soaking wet. You shouldn’t need more than 4 cups, but you might need less.
- Stir in melted butter and mix the stuffing well.
- Cook the stuffing on HIGH, half-covered, for about 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to LOW, still half-covered, and continue cooking for another 4 hours. Stir the stuffing halfway through.
- Serve immediately or keep it on warm until needed.
This recipe was a bit mysterious to me. How am I to know what size bread is being used. Suppose it’s a small loaf of bread. Do I only want 3/4 of a loaf in that case? I ended up buying a loaf of French bread and a loaf of sourdough bread. (I couldn’t find artisan wheat bread at my local Safeway). They were rather large loaves of bread so I used about 3/4 or so of each loaf.
I opted to dice the bread about three days before making the dish and let the cubes dry out on their own instead of baking them. This seemed to work just fine. Also, I made the meat/veggie mixture the day before (omitting the herbs until the day of) in order to save myself some time. I stored the mixture in my crockpot dish in the fridge and simply heated it for a few minutes before adding the bread (etc.) to it.
I may have oversaturated the bread with chicken stock (broth) even though I used only 1 1/2 cans of broth (if not less). I tried to compensate for this by cooking the stuffing on HIGH heat (toward the end of the four hours) when I realized the dish was bit mushy.
Leaving the lid ajar while cooking freaked me out a bit. Isn’t the point of crockpot cooking to retain moisture/keep the lid on?
Despite the quirkiness of the recipe, the end result was exactly what I was looking for. I would definitely make this dish again!