Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Amish Style Apple Sausage Stuffing


     I'm from Maryland originally, just outside of west Baltimore to be more exact and the traditional recipes for a holiday table are as varied as the many different cultures that make up the citizenry.  The 1940's saw a surge in interest in Amish style cooking, probably because it was frugal and filling, 2 things that were necessary on a wartime rationing diet.

     This recipe belonged to my grandmother and was clipped from the Baltimore Sun sometime in the 40's.  It sat in her collection for many years until I found it when I was a teenager in the late 80's.  Prior to my discovery we had been reliant on the bags of dried cube bread stuffing found in the stores from Thanksgiving till Christmas and this offered a respite from the noxious sage sausage stuffing that squatted on our table for time immemorial.

     The original recipe does not specify what sort of sausage to use in the recipe so I have tried it several ways in the intervening years.  It is equally good with sage sausage, or sliced smoked sausage (or kielbasa) but I really think it sings with some Italian sausage.  I use the hot variety because it gives the final product a little kick but you can use sweet Italian sausage if you don't like the mild heat.

Amish Style Apple-Sausage Stuffing

1lb Italian Sausage (sweet or hot, removed from casing)
1/2lb Bacon, diced (Hog Jowl if you can get it, rind removed)
1 large white onion, diced
4-5 Ribs of Celery, washed, trimmed and diced
8oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 apples, cored and diced
1C Chopped fresh parsley
1tsp each dried Sage and Thyme
1 (1lb) loaf fresh white bread, cubed
2C Stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, fry sausage and bacon until crisp and brown.  Add Onion, mushrooms, celery, apples, parsley and herbs.  Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins, remove from heat and cool.  Tear bread into small chunks and place in a large bowl.  Mix in cooked ingredients, chicken stock and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bake in a casserole at 350° for 1 hour.

This is a very flavorful stuffing and is always a big hit with guests.  It gets better the day after it's made as all the flavors meld together so don't be afraid to make it a day ahead of time.  I like to take some and fry it in butter over low heat until it's browned and eat it with breakfast.

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