Friday, December 16, 2016

Turkey Sausage, Kale and Cherry Stuffing

This has been my stuffing recipe for the past 4 years and I have never shared it with you. I've thought through why this hasn't happened and I guess it is just because it always gets eaten so fast after the holidays that I don't have time to take pictures and document it. Also things are always so busy in the kitchen around the holidays that it just hasn't been a recipe I have taken the time to write down and make into something to share. I know- it seems a bit complicated because of a few steps, but it is relatively easy after you bake and dry out the bread. And if you have made my bread before and have become a master at it yourself then you are more than half-way there. I think my bread is what makes it special. It's hearty and thick and gets all perfect with the other soaked flavors. I know Martha Stewart makes a versions of this type of stuffing with her own regular bread- so there's that- but, this one is special because of my bread. There are so many stuffing recipes out there and some have very passionate opinions when it comes to stuffing- but let me tell you- this recipe will forever change your mind about stuffing. And as I finally served it to some of my closest friends over last Thanksgiving- they declared it was their favorite dish I EVER made. That seems quite the exaggeration if you ask me :) Because we all know that I make a lot of food- and these friends have probably had 100's of my recipes- but they fell in love and when you fall in love- you say crazy things :)

Turkey Sausage Kale Cherry Stuffing Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed and refined sugar-free}
2 loaves of bread- this BREAD RECIPE doubled
after baking the bread, cooling it and letting dry-out- cut each loaf into slices and then cube up each slice to come up with a 11x15 baking sheet worth of bread cube crumbs. 
Then bake and dry out in a 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes and then check and toss through and then bake again for 20-30 minutes until the bread cubes are like croutons and hard and very crunchy. The timing on this may vary with each oven, but basically you have to keep checking on them to make sure they are getting dried how and crunchy and not burned. 
2 pounds of raw turkey sausage 
(I buy mine at a local farm at the farmer's market- it is actually a "breakfast" sausage blend, but it is just seasoned with paprika, herbs, sugar, and a little black pepper and salt. Any favorite turkey sausage or even pork sausage will do the trick- just make sure it is raw so you can ground it up with all the seasonings. I buy mine frozen, so I thaw it out for 12 hours and then toss in a large 8 quart pot and ground up and brown into chunks. Then pour our of the pot while you sauce up the rest of the veggies and then you can add in back in before you add the broth. 

2 TB of olive oil for sautéing
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 whole bunch of celery, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves finely chopped and minced
1/2-1 cup of chopped poultry blend fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary)
1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups of finely chopped lacinato kale
Sauté on medium heat the above veggies and herbs for 5-10 minutes to get the onion and garlic soft, then add back the browned sausage, and then add the apples, cherries and broth.

1-2 small peeled and finely chopped apples
12 or 16 ounces of organic dried cherries
4 cups of organic chicken broth

Cook in the broth and let it come to a boil and then pour the bread cubes in the huge pot and turn off the heat. Toss and mix as quickly as you can so that the broth evenly distributes itself over all the bread cubes and then very quickly pour into a large 11x15 Pyrex dish, or even a 9x13 work for it to have it in a pile in the middle, or you can use a 9x9 to use up the rest of the mixture. Or if you have a special glass (oven OK dish) that would fit the whole mixture. Then use foil to cover it- let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but it can be over night. I have also froze it at this stage and pulled it our the day of the dinner. Then, the day of the meal, bake off in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. For the first 30 minutes with the foil on, and then the last 20 with the foil off to get some crispy tops of the bread pieces. If you don't like or what crispy edges, and prefer a more moist finish, then go ahead and keep the foil on. Make sure the middle is HOT before you totally pull from oven. Then let cool for a few minutes before serving with the rest of the feast and fixings.
This is a perfect Thanksgiving stuffing- but also has been eaten as a cozy comfort meal through out the winter months. It would pair well with a roast or ham as well for Christmas. There is no going back after you have tried it- so let it be known I have warned you :)

Much love xoxo

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