The Apple Sausage Stuffing My Entire Family Is Obsessed With (2022)

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by Amelia Rampe

Amelia RampeSenior Recipe Editor

Amelia is a Filipino-American food and travel writer, food stylist, recipe developer, and video host based in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education and worked in kitchens under Jean-Georges Vongerichten at ABC Kitchen and Nougatine at Jean-Georges. She is a former contributing food editor at Bon Appétit Magazine and current Studio Food Editor at thekitchn.com. Her recipes have been published by Food52, Bon Appetit, Washington Post and more.

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published Oct 3, 2021

This sourdough bread stuffing is packed with sausage, apples, fennel, aromatics, and herbs.

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The Apple Sausage Stuffing My Entire Family Is Obsessed With (1)

Apple sausage stuffing is one of the first dishes I ever made from scratch. I was in my early 20s and newly married, and had been gifted the legendary Joy of Cooking. When I saw the stuffing recipe, I was immediately intrigued: As a kid who grew up eating Stove Top, I had no idea not all stuffing came from a box. Cooking a from-scratch stuffing recipe was truly life-changing.

Since then, I’ve made every kind of stuffing under the sun, but I keep coming back to the apple-sausage combo. I’ve made the recipe my own over the years, bringing in my favorite aromatics and adding a few special upgrades. For me, it’s the true essence of my holiday table, and it’s one of the few dishes that never gets taken off my menu (my family would never allow it!). Here’s how to make it.

My #1 Stuffing Tip: Prep All the Ingredients First

If you know me, you know Thanksgiving is my Super Bowl. Having a family of mixed diets means I’m making at least 13 dishes — no one gets left behind! After 20 years of cooking for the big day, I’ve learned that prepping and organizing all the stuffing ingredients before you start cooking makes the experience far less stressful.

I like to start by chopping the aromatics — onions, fennel, celery, and garlic —and combining them in a medium bowl so they’re ready to drop into the skillet after the sausage is browned. I place the chopped apples, sage, and thyme in another bowl for the same reason. Lastly, I chop the fresh parsley and keep it on the cutting board. Now I’m ready to start cooking.

What Type of Apples Are Best for Stuffing?

For this recipe, I prefer an apple that leans more sweet than tart (think: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Gala)because they balance out the savory flavors in the stuffing. However, any baking-friendly apple will do. I find the fresh fennel in the recipe really complements the apple, but if you’re not a fennel fan, simply double the celery.

What’s the Best Sausage for Stuffing?

I prefer the flavors of breakfast sausage here (not Italian-style, unless that’s what you like!) because it has seasoning and depth of flavor that carries throughout the entire dish. But the recipe will work great with whatever sausage you prefer. During the holidays, I make one with pork sausage and one with Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage for the vegetarians.

The rest of the recipe is equally versatile: You could add sautéed mushrooms or chopped kale, or switch up the alliums and use shallots and leeks. I encourage you to find the version you and your family love best.

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Sausage and Apple Stuffing Recipe

This sourdough bread stuffing is packed with sausage, apples, fennel, aromatics, and herbs.

YieldServes 8 to 12

Prep time 45 minutes to 1 hour

Cook time 2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.

  2. Tear or cut 1 loaf sourdough bread into 1/2-inch pieces (about 14 cups). Transfer the bread onto 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer.

  3. Bake until the edges of the bread are dry, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 5 tablespoons unsalted butter into 5 pieces. Cut 1 piece in half; use one of the pieces to coat a 9x13-inch baking dish, then use the second piece to coat a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the baking dish.

  4. When the bread is ready, set aside to cool. Heat the oven to 425°F.

  5. Prepare the following, placing each in the same medium bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 2 medium yellow onions (about 3 cups), 1/2 medium fennel bulb (about 1 1/2 cups), and 2 large celery stalks (about 1 cup). Mince 2 garlic cloves.

  6. Prepare the following, placing each in the same second medium bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 2 medium apples (about 3 cups). Pick 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves and finely chop. Pick and finely chop fresh sage leaves until you have 1/4 cup.

  7. Finely chop fresh parsley leaves until you have 2 tablespoons and leave on the cutting board.

  8. Heat 1 piece of the unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pound pork sausage (remove casings first if needed) and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon into bite-size pieces, until browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the largest mixing bowl you have (you can also use a large pot).

  9. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 piece of the unsalted butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the onion mixture and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine if using and cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.

  10. Add the remaining 2 pieces unsalted butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the apple mixture and cook until the apples are beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with sausage and vegetables.

  11. Add the parsley and dried bread to the bowl and gently toss until everything is evenly combined. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  12. Whisk 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 1 large egg together in one of the now-empty medium bowls until well blended. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and toss until everything is evenly moistened.

  13. Transfer the stuffing to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Cover the baking dish with the foil buttered-side down.

  14. Bake on the upper rack for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned and crisp, about 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make-ahead: Prepare the stuffing and assemble the ingredients in the baking dish, leaving out the egg/broth mixture. Cover then refrigerate until ready to bake. When ready to bake, pour the egg/broth mixture over the top and bake according the recipe insturctions.

Non-alcoholic: If not using wine, sub in with 1/4 cup broth and reduce, or omit this step all together.

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