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Stuffing with Apples
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5 from 1 vote

Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Fennel

Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Holiday, Side Dish
Author: Emily Clifton, Nerds with Knives


  • 1 pound crusty French or Brioche or Challah bread (but not sourdough)
  • 24 oz breakfast sausage links , defrosted if frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion (2 medium onions)
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks white and pale green parts only, rinsed well (about 2 large leeks)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel , about 1 medium bulb, fronds reserved
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots (2 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples , peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 12 large sage leaves chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup cream or half and half
  • 2 cups homemade or low sodium chicken or turkey stock plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or drippings from roast turkey


  • Preheat the oven to 200°F and place a rack in the middle. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place on a baking tray in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until bread is dry, but not brown (you can also air-dry bread by leaving it out for up to 24 hours). Remove bread, set aside and increase oven temperature to 350°F.
  • Preheat a large, heavy skillet on medium heat and add sausages. Cook until brown and just cooked through. Remove the sausages to a plate and set aside. When cool enough to handle, slice links into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Add the onions, leeks, fennel, carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the pan of sausage fat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and apples and sauté 7 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and stir in cream and 1 cup of chicken stock.
  • Add the sliced sausage, sautéed vegetables and bread cubes and toss until the bread starts to soak up the liquid. It may take awhile for the bread to fully absorb the liquid so let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes, check it, and add more stock until the bread is very saturated but not swimming in liquid. Transfer the stuffing to a greased 13x9-inch baking dish (or a 12-inch cast iron pan).
  • Dot the top with butter (or if you have a turkey in the oven, drizzle 2 tablespoons of the fat over the top). Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until hot, and the top is browned, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.


Several stages of this dish can be made in advance, making it ideal for holiday cooking. The bread can be dried up to 2 days ahead. The sausage and vegetables can be cooked up to a day ahead (store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator). The whole dish can be fully assembled up to a day ahead, covered with foil and stored in the refrigerator. If baking from cold, add an extra 5 to 10 minutes baking time.
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