It’s one thing to spend time with your own family over the holidays, spending quality time with the in-laws is quite another. Topping the list of inconveniences is the inability to tell them what you really think of them. From your Father-in-Law’s corny jokes to your Mother-in-laws blue hair to the time you caught your brother-in-law modeling high heels. Perhaps even more annoying is the different style and tastes in food. Every family as their own arsenal of holiday recipes. Perhaps the most controversial of these is stuffing, or “dressing” as it is often called. So what’s the difference?
Stuffing is exactly like it sounds: a savory mixture of bread and herbs that are stuffed inside some form of meat. Dressing is essentially the same, the major difference being that it’s cooked separately, in some kind of baking dish. We all have our methods, but frankly, dressing is better. When executed correctly, it has a crisp, browned topping and a moist and flavorful center. Here is a recipe for Apple, Sausage, and Sage dressing. The sweetness of Fuji Apples are balanced with salty Italian sausage and tangy sourdough bread.
To prepare this delicious dressing, simply cube a loaf of sourdough bread. Toast it in the oven at 375 until the cubes are crisp but not yet golden. Remove and set aside. Brown 1lb of Italian, sweet or spicy sausage until fully cooked. Set aside. Then get started on your aromatics. Saute onions in olive oil and butter with a little thyme. Add celery, diced Fuji apples, onions, and a little chopped fresh sage. Then add more butter, and season with salt and pepper.
Once your flavorings have cooked, simply toss with bread cubes and add 2-2 1/2 cups chicken broth and one beaten egg. Check for seasoning and season well with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for about thirty minutes, covered, and then uncover and let bake or broil until top has turned golden brown.
You may not be able to choose your family, or your significant other’s family, but you CAN choose your stuffing…or dressing. Choose right people! Until next time…
1 loaf sour dough bread (about 1lb) (cubed)
1 lb uncooked Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion (diced)
1 tablespoon dried or fresh thyme
1/4 stick butter plus 1/4 stick more
2 fuji apples (diced)
2-3 stalk celery (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage plus 1 more
big handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt plus 1 more
freshly cracked black pepper
2- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 egg (beaten)
Pre-heat oven to 375. Begin by cubing bread into 1/2 inch pieces and toast in oven until crisp. Then begin browning sausage in batches, breaking up into about 1 inch sized pieces. Once sausage has browned, set aside and reserve. In same pot, cook 1 diced yellow onion in sausage drippings. Add thyme and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add 1/4 stick butter. Toss until melted and fold in chopped apples, celery, 1 tablespoon sage, and garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and let cook for another few minutes before adding another 1/4 stick butter. Once apples, celery, and onions have softened, remove from heat.
Combine ingredients from cooking pot with bread cubes, mixing well. Fold in cooked sausage, chopped parsley, and 1 more tablespoon chopped sage. Measure out 2 cups chicken broth, and to that, add 1 beaten egg. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked black pepper and whisk until incorporated. Pour liquid over stuffing mixture and mix well. Season with extra salt and pepper.
Pour entire contents into a 9X13 baking dish with reasonably high sides. Then top with a few pads of butter, cover with foil, and bake in oven at 375 for about thirty minutes. Remove foil at this point and let bake on center or top rack (broil) until top is golden and crisped. Serve immediately and enjoy!