Sausage and Herb Stuffing

Until this year, I'd never tried making stuffing from scratch. Thinking it'd be too time consuming or labor intensive, I usually rehydrate a boxed mix and served it along side our Thanksgiving turkey. This year, I decided to give it a go and to my surprise it was easy and took less than half an hour to make! The flavors are so rich and delicious, a family member actually said it was the best stuffing they had ever eaten. I would have to wholeheartedly agree.. seriously, it's that good!

Sausage and Herb Stuffing
Serves 8

1 1/2 pound loaf of white or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch bread cubes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup medium-diced yellow onion (1 onion)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 apple, cored and diced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley 
salt to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste) 
1 pound ground sausage
1 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown and toasted, then set aside.  
2. In a dutch oven or large pot, break apart the sausage and cook thoroughly, until well browned, then remove from pot and set aside in a baking dish.
3. Melt the butter in the pan you cooked the sausage in, scraping the bottom to loosen any bits that stuck.
4. Add the onion, celery, apple, parsley, salt and pepper to the butter in the pot. Saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
5. Stir in the toasted bread cubes until butter is absorbed, then add the cooked sausage and chicken broth and mix well.
6. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 12 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.

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