Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing
- 1 pound mild bulk breakfast sausage
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 cups boxed bread cubes (croutons)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Saute the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and poultry seasoning to the skillet and saute until the leeks are soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in the drained cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons and parsley. Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn't be mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)
Bake in a 14-inch oval or 9 by 13-inch rectangular casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Remove and serve immediately.
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