An opinion on stuffing is akin to having an opinion on how you like your eggs prepared. Everyone should know what they prefer. For example, I am a crispy, savory, all-the-bacon-or-sausage-please stuffing fan and I like my eggs soft scrambled or over medium, por favor. I was fashionably late to the stuffing world and only recently have been developing my own recipe – unfortunately that meant making and eating pans upon pans of stuffing to the point where it will take several Thanksgivings for me to want it again. I’m pretty sure Patrick feels the same way but he’s too nice to say anything of the sort.
So here is my take on stuffing- large chunks of crispy edged bread, easy on the sage (too much sage is overwhelming in my opinion), heavy on the rosemary, and the added twist of spiced pecans and optional sausage, vegetarian or otherwise. It’s delicious and sure to become a favorite to the point that your family will ask for it again and again. It is easily modifiable, and if you want a little more of this or a little more of that, go right ahead. Like I said, it’s like figuring out how you prefer your eggs.
ROSEMARY APPLE PECAN STUFFING
inspired by: Victoria Granof’s “Simple is Best” dressing on Epicurious
makes one 13×9 inch pan, which would feed roughly 12 as a side
14-16 ounces rustic white loaf
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large stalks celery, diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 small tart apples (I used granny smith), chopped into bite sized pieces
1.5-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 cup pecan halves, chopped just a few times to break up large pieces
12 ounces sausage (ideas are breakfast sausage, chicken apple sausage, or field roast* vegan sausage)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups broth, divided (chicken or vegetable)
3 large eggs
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F and generously butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Tear your loaf of bread into bite sized pieces, directly placing the pieces in the dish. Bake for 1 hour, stirring halfway, until bread is dried out (keep the pan to reuse later). Adjust oven temperature to 375 degrees F
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter, diced onions, and diced celery. Cook for roughly 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown. Then add the chopped apples, rosemary, thyme, and sage and sauté for another minute. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Using the same fry pan, cook the sausage if it isn’t already cooked. When the sausage is cooked, sauté the pecans and sausage together over medium heat and add the cayenne, cinnamon, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and maple syrup. After 2 – 3 minutes, remove from heat and add the sausage and pecans to the large mixing bowl of onions and celery. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.
- When your bread has finished baking, toss together the bread pieces with the rest of the stuffing. Pour 1.5 cups of broth over the stuffing and toss gently. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. After your stuffing has cooled slightly, beat the three eggs with remaining ½ cup broth and mix into your stuffing.
- Spoon the stuffing into the pan you used to bake the bread; cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil then bake for 30 more minutes, until top is brown and crispy. If you prefer an extra crispy stuffing top, broil the stuffing for an additional minute or two at the end of cooking to crisp even further.
*Vegetarian suggestion (this is not a paid affiliation with Whole Foods, though I do like this product)