classic thanksgiving stuffing with italian sausage, caramelized onions & fennel, plenty of herbs, and a buttery pistachio & dried apricot topping
1 ¼ lbs italian bread, cut or torn into ¾” pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb bulk mild italian sausage
3 cups chicken (or turkey) stock
8 tbsp (¼ lb) butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 large leek, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup chopped dried turkish apricots
¼ cup chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread into an even layer on a half sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned on all sides, stirring often. Season with a pinch of salt.
Transfer the toasted bread to a large mixing bowl. Pour in 2 cups of the stock and the sausage (plus all of the olive oil and drippings from the skillet). Stir well to coat and let sit.
Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, fennel, and leeks. Cook for about 12 minutes until caramelized and tender, stirring often. Turn off the heat and melt in 2 more tablespoons of butter, the sage, parsley, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the vegetables to the bread bowl. Whisk the eggs with the remaining 1 cup of stock and pour it into the bowl. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Pour the stuffing into a buttered 9×13” baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.
Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat again. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Turn off the heat and stir in the apricots and pistachios. Spoon the mixture over the stuffing.
Continue to bake for another 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.