Stuffing with Sausage, Leeks, Apples, and Mushrooms

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This is a little late for Thanksgiving, but hey, some people make turkey for Christmas, right?  And who says stuffing should be relegated to Thanksgiving? !

This is a variation of my go-to stuffing. I’ve used hot Italian sausage or bacon in the past, onions instead of leeks, and added dried cranberries. However you decide to make it, you can’t go wrong!

Stuffing with Sausage, Leeks, Apples, and Mushrooms

12 oz package of seasoned breadcrumbs
1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 T olive oil
3 T butter
3 leeks, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
4 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
8 oz crimini mushroooms, sliced
kosher salt
black pepper
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
4 tsp poultry seasoning
2-4 c low sodium chicken broth (or homemade stock)
1/2 c parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. When the sausage has browned, remove it from the pot and drain off the excess oil from the pot.

Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the leeks, celery, apples, mushrooms, and poultry seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, then saute until the leeks are tender and the mushrooms are browned. Add the rosemary and some chicken stock to the pot and bring the broth to a simmer. (Start with 1-2 cups of broth, waiting until after you’ve incorporated the breadcrumbs to add more.)

Add the breadcrumbs and sausage to the pot with the vegetables and broth. Stir to combine, adding more broth until the stuffing is moist. (I personally like the breadcrumbs to be almost saturated, with a little bit of crunch left in the middle.) Add the parsley and stir.

Grease a 10-by-14-inch casserole dish and distribute the stuffing evenly in the dish. You can either bake the stuffing immediately or refrigerate it and bake it the next day. Cover the dish with a greased sheet of aluminum foil, and bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

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