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Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

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1 pound sweet Italian sausage
4 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, finely chopped, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
6 cups boxed bread cubes (croutons)
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°F.

Sauté 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 sauté until the leeks are soft, about 6-8 minutes. Mix in the cranberries, sage and rosemary. Add the mixture to the sausage, then mix in the croutons and parsley.

Next add the chicken stock a 1/4 cup 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. (The stuffing can be made to this point 2 days before Thanksgiving, refrigerated.)

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.

 

- Adapted from Food Network.com

 

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