Fennel, Sausage and Caramelized Apple Stuffing


Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing 

From Cooking Light

As you are probably aware, Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  And as you probably don’t know, John and I attended a fabulous “Friendsgiving” feast on Sunday.  Both of these events involve stuffing.  Lots of delicious stuffing, some of which may even be offered to us as left overs, which is great since we love stuffing.  In fact, love might not be a strong enough word.  Case in point: on Tuesday we made a MASSIVE (i.e. 12 serving) batch of stuffing…for the two of us.  Of course we didn’t eat all of it in one sitting, but I’d be willing to bet we polish it off before the week is out.

I blame magazines (obviously I’d never blame our lack of self control…) for this act of gluttony.  The magazine shelves are currently brimming with outrageous cover stories about caramelized veggies, potatoes galore, and of course every variety of stuffing known to man.  The average person only gets to contribute one or two dishes to their family’s feast, so for cooking addicts like us there’s just not enough Thanksgivings in a lifetime to make everything that looks amazing.  Thus, we had no choice but to cave in and make this awesome stuffing recipe on a random Tuesday night sandwiched between two legitimate holiday feasts.

Don’t worry, we turned it into a real meal by sauteing some extra sausage with red pepper and red onion strips and having some garlicky broccoli on the side, but in the end this stuffing stole the show.  The apples add a hint of sweetness without over powering it, and the sausage is the perfect savory note.  It’s certainly not traditional Stove Top style, but it’s not so far off that traditionalists would be insulted.  So if you’re one of the lucky ones that gets to contribute stuffing this year and for some reason haven’t found a recipe yet, consider giving this one a try!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • cooking spray
  • 9 oz Italian sausage (we used hot Italian sausage, but mild works too)
  • 5 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (the recipe called for 2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, but we didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups apple, chopped (we used Honey Crisp, the recipe called for Golden Delicious)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 16 minutes, stirring after 8 minutes.  Place toasted bread in a large bowl.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray.
  4. Remove casings froms sausage and add to pan.  Cook 8 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add cooked sausage to bread bowl, reserving sausage grease.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons oil to sausage grease, swirling to coat.
  6. Add onion, sliced fennel bulb, carrot, thyme, crushed fennel seeds, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan.  Saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add veggies to bread mixture.
  7. Add 2 tsp oil to pan, swirling to coat.
  8. Add apple and sugar, and saute 5 minutes or until apple caramelizes, stirring occasionally.  Add apple mixture to bread mixture.
  9. Whisk broth and eggs in a small bowl.
  10. Add broth mixture and 1/4 tsp pepper to mixture, tossing well to combing.
  11. Spoon mixture into a 13×9 inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  12. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until browned and crisp on top.

Serves 12.

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