Apple, sausage and walnut stuffing is a versatile side dish with the flavor and substance to also make an excellent main course. It will complement a Thanksgiving feast or other holiday celebration and brings an intriguing balance of sweet, salty, meaty and spicy flavors to stuffing. Partner it with autumnal favorites such as pumpkin pie, turkey or baked ham to make a festive fall feast.
Preheat the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel, core and dice two to three Granny Smith apples. Dice 1 cup shallots or 1 large onion, along with and 1 1/2 cup celery. Cut 10 cups of stale or lightly toasted bread into 1-inch cubes. Mince 1/4 cup each of parsley, rosemary and sage. Smash three cloves of garlic and dice them finely.
Remove the casing from 1 lb. of spicy sausage and break it into 1/2-inch sections.
Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of a large saute pan and place it on medium heat. Alternately, cover it in olive oil. Saute the onions or shallots and the celery on low heat until they start to become soft and aromatic. It should take seven minutes or less, depending on your pan and stove.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the sausage and continue cooking until the sausage browns, stirring continuously.
Pour in 1 cup of apple cider slowly while stirring continuously. Stir in the apples. Continue cooking for three to four minutes, or until the apples soften.
Add the herbs to season the dish. Add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and turn off the stove.
Empty the saute pan into a large baking dish. Pour in 2 to 3 cups of chicken stock and add the bread. Work the liquid into the bread with your hands until it is thoroughly mixed.
Taste the stuffing. Add salt and pepper until it tastes right to you.
Cook the stuffing in the oven until it is crusty on top and hot all the way through, about 45 minutes.