Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cornbread Stuffing with Salsiccia & Apple Cider

Cornbread, salsiccia (or other Italian sausage), and apple cider put an unusual spin on a Thanksgiving tradition:

1 lb (2 loaves) corn bread, cubed
3 lb salsiccia or other Italian sausage, casings removed
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 bag celery, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
12 large sage leaves
½ stick butter (1/4 cup)
1 cup apple cider, divided
½ cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325 °. Spread cornbread cubes in single layer on large baking sheet. Toast in oven for 35-40 minutes until cornbread is crusty on edges, stirring twice during baking.

Remove salsiccia from casings and brown in large skillet. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage from pan to large mixing bowl lined with paper towels, reserving oil in pan. Remove paper towel and add toasted cornbread to bowl.

Add chopped onion, celery, and red pepper to skillet and cook until golden (probably have to work in 2 batches – add oil to pan, if needed, during 2nd batch). Add ½ cup apple cider to skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Pour contents of skillet onto cornbread. Melt butter in skillet and add sage, cooking until leaves are dark green, about 3 minutes. Add to bowl.

Mix contents of bowl well. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Butter large baking dish and spoon stuffing into it. Drizzle remaining ½ cup apple cider and ½ cup chicken broth over stuffing. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (can be made immediately, but flavors develop if you wait). Bake covered in 350° oven until heated through, 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until top starts to brown.

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