Growing up, the stuffing of choice at our Thanksgiving table was always Stovetop. I remember looking at a forkful of it when I was in high school and wondering “What is stuffing? What is in there?” But it tasted so salty and herby, that I certainly didn’t question it for more than a second. (Plus, this is the 80s we’re talking about here, so in general no one was really questioning anything about the food they were putting in their mouths — at least not in my corner of the world.) But once I was a grown-up and responsible for things like mortgage payments and Thanksgiving side dishes, it occurred to me that stuffing was maybe something I could try to make from scratch, so I went in search of a recipe that could deliver on my (admittedly modest) Stovetop-ian expectations. I found it two Thanksgivings ago with this Martha Stewart recipe. It was the perfect Starter Stuffing. Basic, easy, nothing fancy, seemingly begging for personalizing and riffing. I am throwing apples and sausage in it this year and hoping for the best.
Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat half a stick of butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add 2 small onions (chopped), 6 stalks celery (chopped), salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Add 1 pound assorted mushrooms (quartered). Cover and cook until they release their liquid, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and cook another 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. While it cools, cook 2 links sweet Italian sausage (casings removed) in the same skillet over medium heat, breaking up meat with a fork.
Once meat is cooked, add to the onion mixture in the bowl, along with 2 loaves of Italian bread (in pieces, about 12-16 cups total), a 15-ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth, 1 bunch parsely (chopped), 3 eggs (lightly beaten), and 1 apple (peeled, chopped into chunks). Add mixture to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 20 more minutes.