Stuffing—it’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore. This recipe is suitable for stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey, and yet is adaptable enough anytime you want a delectable side dish. And if you make it without the sausage and serve some braised sausages on top, it can even become a one-dish meal. It can also be made with corn bread instead of wheat bread, and it can easily be made vegan by leaving out the sausage and using olive oil and vegetable broth. And as everyone knows, it makes great leftovers.
Makes 6–8 servings
1⁄2 pound sausage (optional)
Butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tart apple, cored and chopped (not peeled)
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
3⁄4–1 loaf of crusty day-old bread, cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Small bunch of Italian parsley, leaves chopped (stems discarded)
A few sage leaves or thyme leaves, chopped (optional)
1⁄2 cup raisins or sun-dried tomatoes or dried pears or dried cranberries (optional)
1⁄2 cup chopped almonds, walnuts or other nuts (optional)
Some vegetable broth and/or beaten egg
Crumble the sausage into a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl.
Melt butter in the skillet. Add chopped onions and cook over medium heat until tender and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the apple and celery and sauté a few more minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add some of the bread cubes along with the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine. Add more bread crumbs as needed to create a nice ratio of ingredients. Add a little vegetable broth and/or a beaten egg until moist enough to squeeze into a ball.
Use some or all to stuff a chicken or turkey and/or bake the stuffing in a covered casserole in a 325° oven for about 40 minutes, removing the cover and raising the heat in the last few minutes to brown the top. If you are roasting a bird at the same time, try basting the top with some of the juices from the bird during the last few minutes of baking.