My favorite meal of the year is Thanksgiving, full of traditions, remembrances and great flavors. Some speak of turkey, or the after the meal pie, but to me it’s all about the dressing.
Every year I deliver a complete Thanksgiving dinner––turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pie and more to my local police department. I’ve been doing it for a long time and while it’s nice for the police it gives a lot back to me. When I walk through the door I see the look of flavorful anticipation on each face and while my heart just grins, my face always smiles.
- 1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions (medium diced)
- 1-1/2 cups chopped celery (medium diced)
- 3 Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2-inch squares
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- To taste Salt; depending on the saltiness of the stock and the pork sausage
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 20 cups cubed dried bakery white bread (crusts removed); I air-dry the bread for 24 hours beforehand
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 2 Using a large skillet, sauté the pork breakfast sausage until well done, and break it into tiny morsels, by using the back of a wooden spoon. When done, remove sausage from pan and reserve.
- 3 Remove all but 3 tablespoons of drippings from the pan then add olive oil to the same pan. Add the onions and celery and sauté over medium heat until translucent, add the apples, and continue to cook for a few minutes.
- 4 Add the sage, poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the mixture is well heated through.
- 5 In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk with the parsley. In a large bowl, place the bread cubes and top with the cooked vegetables and stock mixture, mix well, then add the egg, milk and parsley mixture. Toss in the crumbled cooked pork sausage.
- 6 Add the mixture into a buttered 4-quart casserole, or large roasting pan, dot with remaining butter.
- 7 Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes until slightly brown and crispy. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F before serving.