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Classic Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Cognac

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A Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without stuffing, a budget-wise and filling side dish. This classic bread stuffing has apples for moistness, and sausage and cognac for flavor. You can substitute brandy for the cognac, if you like.

Classic Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Cognac

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Jack Puccio 2007]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Jack Puccio 2007

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 cups (approximately)

1 pound dense white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound bulk pork sausage

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

3 cups diced, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 apples)

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons cognac

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes in single layer on a jelly roll pan and toast them until they’re just turning light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Do not overbrown. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Meanwhile, break up the pork sausage and cook it in a large sauté pan over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and add it to the bread cubes. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of fat.

  3. Add the butter to the pork fat left in the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the apples, cognac, parsley, sage, and thyme and cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Pour over the bread/sausage mixture and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Add 1/4 cup of the broth and stir to moisten. Add more broth as necessary to make the bread cubes moist, but not soggy.

  5. Place the stuffing in a buttered baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 325 degrees F until golden brown and delicious.

Vary it! Making your own bread stuffing is inexpensive and easy to tailor to the other dishes on your table. For example, you can take this recipe for Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Cognac and switch out ingredients as you like:

  • Cranberry Orange Stuffing: Omit the apples, cognac, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and add 1 cup dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, and 1/2 cup orange juice.

  • Bacon Cornbread Stuffing: Replace the white bread with cornbread, add 6 slices of cooked crumbled bacon, and remove the apples and cognac.

  • Whole Wheat Pear Stuffing: Omit the white bread, apples, and cognac and use whole wheat bread, 3 cups peeled, diced pears, and 2 tablespoons pear liqueur, if desired.

  • Pecan Fig Stuffing: Omit the apples and add 1 cup of chopped toasted pecans and 1 cup of finely chopped dried figs.

  • Vegetarian Dressing: Omit the sausage, add 1 cup of chopped dried fruit of your choice and 1 cup chopped toasted nuts and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Bake in buttered casserole alongside, not inside, your turkey.


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