Saturday, December 18, 2010

Apple, Sausage, and Parsnip Dressing

So I made this huge batch of dressing to bring to a Holiday potluck last week, but due to car troubles I wasn't able to get home in time to bake it and get to the potluck. The good thing is, I already had something yummy made for dinner when I was finally got home.

Total Time: about 2.5 hours, includes chilling time and baking time
Active Time: about 30 minutes
Makes 10 servings

1 1/2 lbs mild Italian sausage, casing removed
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 lb semi-tart apples (I used Arkansas black apples), peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
4 medium parsnips, peeled, chopped into 3/4-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
6 Tbsps butter, divided
1 C roughly chopped onion
1 C roughly chopped celery
4 C cubed sourdough bread, crusts removed
1/4 C parsley, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped (about 2 Tbsps)
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
4 C chicken broth
1/4 C cream
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and brown the sausage, breaking it up with a spatula or back of a spoon, until no raw color remains. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Clean the skillet and return to the stove on medium heat.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and add the chopped parsnips, season with salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the apples. Continue to cook until the parsnips and apples have softened. Add the parsnips and apples to a very large bowl, then add the bread cubes and sausage.

Place the onion and celery in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not pureed). Melt the other 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and celery and season with salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened and begin to brown slightly. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the parsnips, apples, sausage and bread cubes; stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, rosemary, chicken broth, nutmeg, cream, and egg. Season with lots of black pepper (or however much you like). Transfer the sausage dressing ingredients to a buttered 9x13 casserole dish, and pour the liquids over the dressing. Press the dressing down in the pan (I used my hands) so that the soaking liquid coats all of the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour so that the flavors can meld. Let the dressing sit out for about 30 minutes prior to baking. (The dressing can be made ahead of time. I let mine sit in the fridge for about 6 hours.)

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F.  Bake the dressing on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes (the liquid should be absorbed and the top should be browned).  If the dressing gets too brown on the top, tent with foil before it finishes baking.

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