I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week! How did that sneak up on me? Good thing the menu is already sort of set for everyone – turkey, stuffing/dressing, vegetables, gravy, potatoes. It’s just a matter of variations and what type of vegetables you are preparing – Brussels sprouts, green beans? Or how are you cooking the turkey – brining, roasting, deep-frying? Or what ingredients you will put in your stuffing? If you need an idea for the latter, here’s a recipe for you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sausage, Cherry, Apple and Pecan Dressing
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (about 2 links), casings removed and crumbled
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 leaves fresh sage, finely sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 12 cups stale Italian bread cubes, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 1½ ponds of bread (cut them into cubes and leave them out over night on a cookie sheet, or toast them in a 325º F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
- Pre-heat a Dutch oven or large sauté pan over medium-high heat and pre-heat the oven to 375º F.
- Add the olive oil and sausage and brown the sausage. Cook until the sausage has rendered out some of its fat and is starting to brown. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, but not brown – about 10 minutes. Add the sage and parsley and cook for a minute longer.
- Combine the apples, cherries, pecans, and bread cubes to a large bowl. Add the sausage and vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Moisten the dressing with the chicken stock until the bread cubes are re-hydrated (you may not use it all) and toss everything together well. Transfer the mixture to whatever vessel you choose to bake it in – a Dutch oven or a ceramic baker. Dot the top with the butter cubes and cover with foil or a lid.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.