Friday, November 16, 2012

Recipe for Apple Sausage Stuffing

When it comes to Thanksgiving, my husband I tend to cheat a bit on our low-fat diet; we love our gravy and mashed potatoes with turkey. We also like stuffing, the soft/crunchy concoction of bread, veggies and meat.
I'll make apple sausage stuffing this year, and I want to share that recipe with you. It's chicken sausage, instead of pork, so I feel like I'm at least trying to be a little low-fat.
But first, a bit of history.
The bready mix we're familiar with today likely had its origins in ancient Greece and Roman kitchens, but as to it being called stuffing, that dates back to the middle ages. The bread and veggie mix was called farce, meaning 'to stuff': It was a play on words referencing the brief and humorous plays, called farces, 'stuffed' between long and boring religious presentations.
Victorian sensibilities, however, found the word 'stuffing' a bit too graphic, and applied the term 'dressing' to the mixture. Today, the two words are interchangeable, and dressing may be cooked without getting stuffed into a bird's backside.
Apple Stuffing
1 lb ground French apple chicken sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 stick butter or margarine, divided
8 cups cubed bread, divided
2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 large sweet apple, chopped
1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1. Over medium high heat, brown the French apple chicken sausage in a large pan in a teaspoon of oil, adding the onion and celery to the pan when the sausage just starts to brown and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, just until the veggies are tender. Remove the mixture from the heat.
2. Put half the butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add 3 cups of bread cubes to the butter as it starts to melt, stirring to coat and moisten the bread cubes. Add approximately 1/3 cup of chicken broth to soften the bread.
3. Add the chopped apples and jalapeno peppers to the bread mixture, along with the remaining butter and stir to combine.
4. Add the remaining bread cubes and remaining butter to the pot. Stir to combine and melt the butter. Slowly add the remaining chicken stock, stirring the mixture to ensure all the bread cubes are thoroughly moistened and softened. Turn off the heat and stir in the sage and parsley.
5. Spoon the bread mixture into a buttered casserole dish, cover and cook at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Allow the stuffing to rest for approximately 10 minutes before serving.
For a little more sweetness, add dried cranberries or raisins to the mixture while adding the remaining chicken broth.
A note about jalapeno peppers- The smaller the pepper, the more intense the heat. If you just want a little heat, use larger peppers. If you can't find fresh jalapenos, use canned, but test for heat levels before adding.