Growing up, I was never a big fan of stuffing (or dressing as you may call it). We always had Stovetop Stuffing that I remember and I avoided it at all cost. It wasn't until a few years ago that I tried it again, mixed it with some mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce - and quickly realized it had a place. Thanksgiving meals have never been the same! Being the stubborn cook I am, I had to find a homemade recipe since boxed mix just wouldn't do - and this one is my winner.
- 1 pound sage bulk breakfast sausage
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well (about 2 large leeks)
- 2 apples, cored and chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 cups boxed bread cubes
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Saute the sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and drippings to a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, apples, celery and poultry seasoning to the skillet and saute until the leeks are soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in the drained cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons and parsley. Next add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is very moist. Be sure not to overdo it; it shouldn't be mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish.
Bake in a 14-inch oval or 9 by 13-inch rectangular casserole dish and place, uncovered, in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and the center piping hot. Remove and serve immediately.