Apple Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
- 5½ cups cubed white European style or sourdough bread, see Notes for Gluten Free Options
- 2½ cups cubed whole grain wheat bread, see Notes for Gluten Free Options
- 1½ pounds ground pork sausage, such as Bob Evans® brand
- 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1½ cups grated carrot (2 to 3 large carrots)
- 1¼ cups chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 large Golden Delicious apple, cored & coarsely chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored & coarsely chopped
- 1¼ cups dried cranberries
- ½ cup minced fresh parsley
- ¾ cup Golden Tangerine Turkey Giblet Stock
- ¾ cup fine-quality Chardonnay or dry white wine
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake the white or sourdough and whole wheat bread cubes in one layer on prepared baking sheets until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a bowl and let them cool.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the carrots, celery and herbs; cook for 2 minutes while stirring to blend flavors. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Stir in chopped apples cranberries and parsley. Drizzle the stock, wine and melted butter over stuffing mixture; toss well. Allow stuffing to cool completely before stuffing turkey. Spoon loosely into turkey cavities to fill.
To bake stuffing separately outside the bird, bake in a generously buttered casserole dish in a preheated 350ºF oven for 30 to 40 minutes, covered. Remove the casserole from the oven and remove the lid. Drizzle desired amount of butter over the top. (Two tablespoons will do.) Return to oven and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes for a crisp, golden brown top.
If you will be ordering the bread from your local bakery, order the loaves unsliced. This way, you can slice the bread into thick slices for the ideal 1-inch cubes. For traditional bread (not gluten free), we prefer sourdough bread over other white breads (French, etc.) and prefer 7-Grain or Whole Grain Wheat bread from the bakery.
If desired, you can “plump” or rehydrate the dried cranberries by pouring boiling water over them, in a heatproof Pyrex® bowl or measuring cup, and allow them to stand for 10 to 15 minutes just like you would raisins. You can also “plump” them by using apple cider, apple juice, orange juice, brandy or wine, etc. (After “plumping”, drain well before using in recipes.) We just skip this step for the stuffing and like the texture as is when baked inside the bird, but everyone is different.
Advance Prep Tip:
Stuffing can be assembled, but not baked, one (1) day ahead. Once cool, keep covered and chilled in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature (about 1 hour) before stuffing turkey or baking in a separate casserole dish.
IMPORTANT: If baking stuffing inside the turkey, after roasting make certain that the temperature of the stuffing reads at least 165ºF.
Recipe Variation & Gluten Free Options:
Variation: For Sausage Apple and Cranberry with Sweet Cornbread Stuffing, use 4 cups white European style or sourdough bread, cubed, and 4 cups of your favorite sweet cornbread, cubed.
For the Homemade Gluten Free Crouton Options: Consider the following homemade gluten free bread recipe options below to make gluten free croutons for stuffing: