Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 12: Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Golden Raisins

Confession. I love to eat stuffing but have never made stuffing.

Okay, so that's not entirely true. The only stuffing I've made is trusty, ol' Stove Top.

But, this year one of my Thanksgiving contributions is. . . you guessed it. . . the stuffing, and I cannot bring myself to show up with a box of Stove Top. Thus, the hunt for the perfect stuffing recipe began.

Here's what I know about my stuffing preferences.
1. I prefer stuffing with meat in it
2. Adding the guts that come in the plastic bag in the turkey freaks me out
3. I don't like nuts in my stuffing

My search for the perfect recipe began at Food Network where I found a recipes from my favorite celebrity chefs:
Ina Garten
Giada De Laurentiis

Next step was an email to friends requesting recipes. Much to my delight, at least one friend confessed to never having tried anything but Stove Top, too! The email resulted in a vote for The Pioneer Woman's stuffing recipe, a top secret family recipe, and cookbook favorite.

I narrowed the search down to three and made a commitment to try all three before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for the results.

Um, yeah. So, I did make a commitment to actually try three kinds of stuffing. But, T-day is now about a week away. I am going to be in Philadelphia instead of the comfort of my own kitchen for five of the days between now and then. The chances of me actually making three different stuffing recipes are slim - unless I eat nothing but stuffing on the days I'm home between now and Thanksgiving. And, I'm afraid if I do that I won't want to eat stuffing on Thanksgiving.

Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Golden Raisins
from Bon Appetit - November 2009 (page 111)

Makes 16 servings
Preparation for about 45 minutes
Bakes for 45 minutes to 1 hour
Stands for 10 to 15 minutes

1 1 1/2-lb loaf sourdough bread
2 lbs bulk pork breakfast sausage
2 large onions, chopped (about 4 generous C)
2 C chopped celery (about 5 stalks)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, divided
6 C 1/2-inch cubed, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 28 oz)
3/4 C golden raisins (about 4 oz)
2 tsp ground sage
2 1/2 C low-salt chicken broth
3 large eggs

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Remove crusts from bread and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 13 cups). Spread bread cubes in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, stirring occassionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer bread to very large bowl.

2. Saute sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up into small pieces with back of fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl with bread cubes.

3. Add onions and celery to drippings in skillet; saute golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread-sausage mixture (do not clean skillet).

4. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread mixture; mix in raisins.

5. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in same skillet over low heat. Add 2 tsp sage; stir 30 seconds. Add sage butter to bowl with bread-sauage mixture; toss to blend. Season stuffing with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Can do all of this one day ahead. Cover and chill.

6. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

7. Whisk broth and eggs in medium bowl; add to stuffing and toss to mix.

8. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake stuffing uncovered until top is golden and crisp in spots, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

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