A little untraditional. A lot of deliciousness.
Stuffing. So much controversy over this particular dish at Thanksgiving. Is it called stuffing if it isn't actually stuffed into the bird? Is it dressing? If you are in the South, or your family is from the South, it is definitely dressing.
Honestly, controversy aside, this is the MOST important dish on any thanksgiving table. I know - more controversy. But it is my favorite - for so many reasons.
First, there are so many different types of stuffing. Growing up we had cornbread stuffing with celery and onions, and it was so savory. Once I got married, my mother-in-law introduced me to sage stuffing made with sourdough bread, which this recipe is a tribute to.
Second, stuffing is the perfect leftover dish. I personally think it tastes better the next day.
Third, stuffing soaks up the gravy and pairs perfectly with cranberry sauce. It could literally be a meal on it's own. Especially this recipe. It's hardy, and flavorful, and full of texture.
Have I convinced you yet?
This Apple, Leek, and Sausage Stuffing is guaranteed to impress your Thanksgiving guests. In whatever shape that takes during this crazy, weird holiday season. I used a rustic loaf of bread instead of buying a stuffing kit from the grocery store, and I promise it will elevate the whole dish. I suggest drying out the bread the night before, or even a couple of days before. I've provided all the instructions below. It sounds tedious, but it is so easy, and again the fresh bread over the store-bought stuffing kit is definitely the way to go!
Starting with fresh ingredients is always the better option.
If you aren't a fan of leeks, replace them with shallots or a yellow onion; but if you've never worked with leeks, try them. They are amazing. I used a sage sausage in this recipe, but if you can't find sage sausage, you can flavor ground pork with a teaspoon of sage and 1/2 tsp of salt and you'll be good to go. The apples are the key here. They add a bit of sweetness, a little texture, and a little color. Just enough to be just enough!
🏷 Time: 3 hours (1 hour active)
🏷 Serves 8
4 cups (about one loaf) of artisan bread diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBSP Butter
1 TBSP Avocado or Olive Oil
1/4tsp Freeze Dried or Ground Sage
1/4tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Leeks, thinly sliced
2 Stalks of Celery, sliced down the middle and then diced in 1/4 inch pieces
1/4tsp Garlic Powder
1LB Sage Sausage
1 medium apple, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1C Chicken Stock
1 Large Egg
2TBSP Heavy Cream
Preheat oven to 200F
Arrange diced bread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 2 hours until bread is hard and dried out. Set bread aside in a large bowl. (If you are doing this the night before or a couple of days before. Let bread cool, and store in a zip top bag until you are ready to use)
Preheat oven to 350F
In a heavy bottom or cast iron skillet over medium heat, add 1TBSP butter and 1TBSP Oil
Add Sage, Thyme, and Red Pepper flakes to the skillet and bloom the spices, for about 1 or 2 minutes. It should start to smell very fragrant
Add leeks, celery, salt, and garlic powder. Cook until they start to turn a little translucent
Add leeks and celery to the bowl with the bread crumbs
Add sausage to the skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking up the sausage and cooking until just browned, about 3 minutes
Add apple to the pan and cook until the apples are just starting to get soft, about 2 minutes
Add apples and sausage to the bowl with the leeks, celery, and bread. Toss until everything is combined
Prepare a 9x9 baking dish by using a spatula to paint the bottom of the dish with 1tsp of butter (you will want the butter to be a bit soft, and use paint strokes to coat the bottom of the dish)
Add stuffing to the dish and arrange so it sits evenly
In a small bowl, add chicken stock, egg, and heavy cream. Whisk until combined
Pour over the stuffing, ensuring to cover the whole dish with the chicken stock mixture (it will seem like it isn't enough, but just trust me)
Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes until the the top of the stuffing is golden brown