Monday, November 20, 2023

Dried Cherry and Walnut Stuffing


I love this dressing. I make a lot of different ones but this might be my favorite. The combination of savory and sweet is over the top. The seasonings bring that traditional herbed stuffing flavor with the slight crunch of onions, celery and toasted walnuts. Bake this inside the turkey or in a separate dish. It’s a real crowd pleaser!

Dried Cherry and Walnut Stuffing

10 cups unseasoned cubed bread
1 pound Sage Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean in a roll)
1 cup butter, melted and divided
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 1⁄2 tablespoons of crumbled sage leaves (or 1 tablespoon ground)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons crumbled thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon ground)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple (optional)
2 cups toasted and chopped walnuts
1 ½ to 2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and set aside. Pour bread cubes in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, sauté the sausage over medium high heat until brown. Drain grease and transfer sausage to the bowl of bread cubes. Set aside.

Using the same skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter and sauté onions and celery over medium heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently.  Add parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and mix well. Add celery and onion mixture to bread cubes and toss to combine.

Drizzle just enough chicken broth to moisten the bread mixture. You do not want it too wet. I usually start off with a cup of the broth and continue to add to it as necessary. Allow the bread mixture to soak up the broth and add more if needed.  Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Pour mixture into a grease 9 x 13 baking dish. Drizzle top with remaining butter and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes or until brown and crisp on top.

NOTES:  You can use cherry flavored Craisins but it would be worth your time looking for real dried cherries.

If stuffing the turkey, stuff the neck and cavity loosely with stuffing, folding the neck skin under and fastening with skewer. Roast the turkey at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound or until the temperature reaches 170 degrees and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with fork. Let turkey rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

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