I was never very fond of stuffing while growing up. A mass of bread crumbs stuffed up a poor bird? No thank you. Besides, the flavors were never really that great, and the dish tended to come out either too dry or wet. That all changed when my mom started making this traditional stuffing, a dish with enough great flavors to allow it to stand as its own dish, and perfect texture.
This particular stuffing has apples in it, adding more depth and complexity to the flavors. It ties all the other vegetables together nicely with the meat. The stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish, or inside the turkey if you wish. I personally prefer staying away from stuffing it up the turkey because it complicates cooking time and could end up making the dressing dry - not worth it for the added flavor of a few turkey juices.
1 lb. breakfast sausage
3/4 cup raw bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 cup chopped celery
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 small apples, cored and chopped
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped walnuts
12 oz. dry stuffing bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the breakfast sausage and bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up any large chunks that remain. Once browned, add the onion, celery, mushrooms, apples, parsley, sage, and thyme (in a pinch, you can use poultry seasoning in place of the sage or thyme). Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in the chicken broth and walnuts, then add the bread crumbs (more or less depending on how dry you want it). Add salt and pepper to taste. If baking in a casserole dish, butter a 2 1/2-quart dish and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Slide stuffing into dish and spread evenly, but without compressing the stuffing. Bake 1 hour, and allow to cool uncovered before serving. Serves 10.
Sure, stuffing is traditionally served during thanksgiving, but this dish is delicious enough to be a comfort food anytime during the winter months.