Apple Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing with herbs is a fresh and flavorful take on traditional stuffing.
Years ago, my first mother-in-law and I loved nothing better than to stay up until 2 a.m., thumbing through magazines, finding new recipes and just sharing life. We found this Apple Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing during one of those late night recipe forays, from what magazine I have no idea, and we were so excited to prepare a new dish for the family Thanksgiving celebration.
However, the stuffing experiment didn’t go so well. We used regular un-toasted white bread (as the recipe called for) and ended up with a greyish, soggy mess. Needless to say, everyone went for the traditional cornbread dressing and the stuffing was largely untouched. She and I ate it and proclaimed it delicious, although I’m not sure either of us truly enjoyed it at the time.
Of course, stuffing is not a traditional Southern Thanksgiving dish. We always have cornbread dressing with giblet gravy, but every now and then I like to throw this one out there as well. I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years as I’ve learned more about cooking. Now I use sourdough bread which I toast to help keep it from getting soggy in the broth. I also toast the pecans, which gives them a richer, nuttier flavor.
This is one of those recipes in which it’s important to practice mise en place, a French term meaning to have all ingredients ready prior to commencing cooking. However, there are some things you can do for economy of time. While the bread is toasting, chop the mushrooms if you didn’t buy pre-sliced. While the pecans are roasting, don’t do anything—otherwise you might forget about the pecans and have to start over. Don’t ask me how I know.
Butter a large baking dish, 15x10x2 if you have it and if not then use 2 smaller ones, and set aside.
Next, spread the bread on one or two cookie sheets and toast for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned and dry. Then spread the chopped pecans on a cookie sheet (you can reuse the same cookie sheets for everything) and toast for 5-8 minutes until they smell like the roasted nuts you get at the fair.
In a large mixing bowl, put the toasted bread, parsley, dried thyme, rubbed sage, and a little salt and pepper, and gently stir. Add the pecans and mix them in.
Add butter to a large skillet and saute the onions, celery, and mushrooms. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables are slightly wilted, add thyme, sage, and rosemary.
Remove vegetables from skillet and add to the bowl with the bread.
Cook sausage in the same large skillet until done.
Remove sausage with slotted spoon and add to bread mixture. Stir gently.
Stir in 2 cups chicken stock, mixing well. Add another 1/2 cup if needed. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Chop apples and add to bread mixture. Stir and spoon into prepared dish.
Bake uncovered about 45 minutes.
Your kitchen is going to smell like the best of Thanksgiving…the earthy herbs mixed with fruity apples and sausage…it’s heavenly!
Apple, Sausage, and Mushroom Stuffing
- 8 cups sourdough bread, cubed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups white onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 large Gala apples, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 lb. sweet italian sausage
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven 375 and butter a large baking dish (15x10x2).
Toast bread on a baking sheet for 15 minutes, then remove. Toast pecans in oven for about 7 minutes.
In large mixing bowl, combine bread, parsley, dried thyme, rubbed sage, and salt and pepper. Add pecans and mix gently.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and add onions, celery, and mushrooms. Saute until slightly tender. Add sage, thyme and rosemary and cook for another minute.
Remove vegetables from skillet and place in bowl with bread. Stir gently to mix.
Add sausage to skillet and cook until browned. Remove sausage with slotted spoon and stir into bread mixture.
Pour in chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring until mixture is fairly wet. Start with 2 cups and add more if needed. Should be slightly wet but not soggy.
Chop apples and stir into bread mixture.
Spread stuffing in prepared baking dish.
Bake uncovered about 45 minutes, or until browned and toasty.