My sister and I are in agreement that the barefoot contessa is one of our fave cook book authors.
I have never been unhappy with one of her recipes, and this stuffing (or dressing) is the one I will be serving next week at our holidaze feast table.
I happen to like using hot breakfast sausage for this, because we like a bit of spice, but feel free to use plain or sage, whichever way you go, I think you will be pleased.
•1 bag packaged sage and herb stuffing mix
•8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
•2 cups medium-diced sweet onion
•1 cup medium-diced celery
•2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
•1 cup dried cherries
•2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
•1 tbsp Sherry peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
•1/2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 lb spicy breakfast sausage
•2 cups unsalted chicken stock
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Heat your oven to 350º.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan, then add the sausage, onions, celery, apples, parsley, Seasoned Salt and black and Aleppo pepper.
Saute over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, breaking up the sausage, until the vegetables are softened and the sausage is cooked through, then add the stir in the dried cherries.
Stir in the Sherry Peppers and hot sauce, then add the bread cubes.
Stir the chicken stock into the mixture, then, if your pan is oven safe, bake for 30 minutes.
If your pan is not oven safe, transfer the stuffing to a baking pan, bake for 30 minutes, until the top is crispity and the stuffing is warmed through.
Note: another cool baking option would be to scoop the stuffing into a large muffin tin, then baking for 30 minutes.
Serve your stuffing warm, mebbe with a bit of gravy and some Cranberry Relish on the side, just to balance everything out.