extremely flavorful sausage & fennel stuffing with toasted pistachios and dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the bread cubes out onto a sheet pan. Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Transfer the bread to a large bowl and pour in the chicken stock, making sure to coat every inch. Let soak for about 30 minutes to soften.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and use a wooden spoon to break it into smaller pieces. Let the sausage cook until browned and caramelized, about 6 minutes.
Peel and dice the onion into ½” pieces. Cut the end and stem off of the fennel bulb. Slice the fennel in half, discard the core, and dice into ½” pieces. Cut the end and dark green section off of the leek. Dice the leek into ½” pieces. (Leeks contain a lot of dirt, so make sure to wash well.)
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to the bread bowl, leaving the drippings behind. In the same pan, add the remaining butter and let melt. Add the onion, fennel, and leek. Season with a generous amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add the sage. Let sauté until caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Add the dried apricots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture and toasted pistachios to the bread bowl. Stir everything together. Raise the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×12” baking dish with a coating of oil. Pour the stuffing mixture into the baking dish, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.