Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recipe: Apple and Cranberry Studded Stuffing with Sausage + FN Virtual Thanksgiving

Most days, the Internet is a wonderful place – A place filled with mousy-voiced seashells, disturbing-to-the-core Man Babies, and the most hilariously guilt-inducing YouTube video of all time. (It’s okay if you laugh, really.)

But today? Today the Internet is DOUBLY wonderful. That’s right, I said doubly.

Because today, Food Network is hosting a Virtual Thanksgiving. Which, in my humble opinion, is really just an excuse to gorge on holiday favorites 8 days before the rest of the general population. All while wearing dingy sweats and watching – what else? – Food Network.

In deciding what to bring to the digital table this week, I contemplated which of our family’s Thanksgiving staples I couldn’t go without. I really, truly wanted to post something that was inherently gluten free, but let’s be real. In no world will string beans eclipse the starchy, comforting goodness that is Thanksgiving stuffing.

This recipe has been in my family for as long as my dad’s been suggestively arranging the turkey pieces. So long, in fact, that my mom still references the same cranberry-stained, note-ridden Epicurious printout year after year.

If you can fight the tryptophan haze enough to assemble a fork-full of cranberry, apple and sausage, you’ll realize why we’ve been coming back to this recipe. It hits all the traditional savory notes of a great stuffing, with a tart punch of cranberry and a subtle sweetness from the apple.

Have a very Happy Virtual Thanksgiving, friends and fellow Internet lovers!

Note: If you cut up a loaf of cornbread instead of using the herbed stuffing mix, double the amount of poultry seasoning and sage called for. 

[Original recipe from Epicurious/Bon Appétit]
Ingredients (Serves 12-16)
1 lb pork sausage, removed from casing (all one flavor, or combo of sweet and spicy)
2 cups chopped yellow or white onion (about 1 large onion)
2 cups chopped celery
5 cups cubed whole grain gluten free bread (crust removed; 1 loaf Udi’s bread)
5 cups gluten free herbed cornbread stuffing mix (1 12 oz bag)
2 apples, cubed (peel on; about 2.5 cups)
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp black pepper
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (gluten free)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9” glass baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside.

Place cubed bread (from the loaf, not the stuffing mix) on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 or so minutes, until the cubes of bread are dried out and crisp but not browned. 

Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, place sausage in pan and begin to break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for about 5 minutes, continuing to break up with the spoon. Once the sausage has released some of its fat, add the onion and celery. Cook for another 10-12 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the sausage is completely browned. Remove from heat. If there is excess fat (enough to pool in the corner if you tip the pan), pour it off.

If you’re using a big enough pot, you can do the rest of the mixing right in there. If not, scrape the sausage and veggies into a very large bowl.

To the sausage and veggies, add the bread cubes, apples, cranberries, poultry seasoning, dried sage and pepper. Very gently, toss all of the ingredients together so they’re evenly distributed.

Then, add the broth one cup at a time. Pour each cup slowly over the stuffing until it’s absorbed, then gently toss.

Once all of the broth is incorporated, scrape the stuffing into the greased baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top of the stuffing is lightly browned and crisp.

Serve warm. 

Other Virtual Thanksgiving Contributions:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Celebrity Chefs and Their Gardens: The American Hotel Peconic Clam Chowder
Good Food Good Friends: Mushroom Soup
The Macaron Queen: Macaron Tower
Poet In The Pantry: Amaretto Apple Crisp
Farm Girl Gourmet: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
That's Forking Good: Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Blondies
Food For My Family: Buttermilk Custard Pear Pie
A Cooks Nook: Swedish Apple Pie
Yakima Herald: Pretzel Jell-O Salad
Dollhouse Bake Shoppe: Thanksgiving Candy Bar Name Plates
Sweet Fry: Pumpkin Latte
An Uneducated Palate: Puff Pastry Apple Tart
Frugal Front Porch: Mini Cheaty Cheesecakes
Even more:
A Curious Palate: The Communal Table


  1. What brand of gluten-free stuffing mix do you use?

  2. This recipe looks so delicious! Reminds me of the stuffing my father-in-law makes! Nice to share a virtual Thanksgiving table with you! :)

  3. Genoa - I used All Can Eat Foods' Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing Mix after I stumbled upon it at Whole Foods. Would definitely use it again! And I liked the contrast of 1/2 stuffing mix and 1/2 fresh bread (Udi's).

    Rachael - Hi! Seems stuffing's always some specific family member's specialty. In your case your father-in-law, in my case my mom! Wonderful virtually dining with you as well :)

  4. Hi! This looks yummy and beautiful! Quick question, do you add the cornbread mix with the bread cubes? Also, can this be cooked inside a turkey or is it better off done separately? Thanks!

    1. Hi! You can go ahead and add the cubed whole grain bread (or whatever kind you like) and the stuffing mix at the same time. I prefer to make it separately so I can control the cooking time and brown the top - but you could always do try half and half! Enjoy :)


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