A stuffing that is nice and crusty on the top layer, while the interior is soft and fluffy with loads of flavor from herbs, onions, and garlic. Extra texture is added from celery, apples, and Italian sausage.
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:65 minutes not including bread cubes
Total Time:1 hour and 25 minutes
Yield:12 servings 1x
Apple Sausage Stuffing
14 ounces Ciabatta Bread, cubed
1 1/2 pounds Mild Italian Sausage, bulk
1 1/2 large Sweet Onion, chopped
4 large Celery Ribs, chopped
2 large Honeycrisp Apples, cored and cubed
6 large Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons each Fresh Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, chopped
1 1/2 – 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
2 large Eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons Butter, for greasing the pan
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Cut 14 ounces of ciabatta bread into 1/2 inch cubes.
Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the bread is completely dried out.
Let the bread cool completely.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 1/2 pounds of ground Italian sausage. Cook until done and remove sausage with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Add 1 1/2 large chopped onion and 4 large chopped celery ribs to the sausage grease and sauté for about 7 minutes.
Add 2 cubed Honeycrisp apples and cook for another 7-10 minutes until everything is softened.
Add 6 large chopped garlic cloves and cook for 1 more minute.
In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, sautéed ingredients, 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, and 2 tablespoons each of fresh chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Start with a cup of stock. Toss everything together. Continue adding a 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the stuffing starts to clump together and is moist, but not wet.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and 2 beaten eggs.
Stir until completely mixed together.
Increase the oven to 350°F.
Generously grease 9×13-inch casserole dish with 3 tablespoons of butter. Spoon the stuffing into the dish.
Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Uncover and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Choose a bread that is crusty on the outside but chewy on the inside. It will hold up well when chicken stock is added.
The key is to buy day-old bread and make sure it is stale and/or dried out.
Drying the bread in the oven can be done ahead of time. Make sure it is completely dried out and cooled before you store it in plastic bags.
You can substitute a bag of regular cubed stuffing mix if you prefer (15-ounce package).
To save time, prep the vegetables ahead of time and store them in ziplock bags in the fridge.
The rule for sautéing vegetables: heat the pan then add the oil. Heat the oil then add the vegetables.
Cut the onions and celery to a uniform size and shape. This will ensure they cook evenly.
Don’t be tempted to grab the powdered parmesan that comes in the green can. There’s no comparison between that and freshly grated parmesan. Even the pre-grated packages lose flavor over time.
Don’t throw your parmesan rinds away. You can toss them into sauces or soups while they simmer. The rind will add wonderful savory notes while acting as a thickening agent. It won’t melt in the sauce or soup, only soften and then you can remove it before you serve the dish. Throw your rinds in a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer for when you need them.
You know you’ve added too much chicken stock if there is a puddle of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. If that is the case, throw in more bread cubes to soak it up.
I always choose stock over broth as the stock has more of a full mouthfeel and a richer flavor because of the gelatin that is released from the simmering bones when cooking.