New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slow Cooker Stuffing with Apple and Sausage Recipe



This is it, the time we've all been waiting for. The weather is cooler, we can wear baggy sweaters, put on elastic waist pants, and eat.
Really eat.

it's your patriotic duty, you know.

We're having a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how many---somewhere between 24 and 33. It's a wide range.

we really shouldn't talk about it too much.

I might hyperventilate.

But! there will be lots of food. And? a rocking stuffing that has both sausage and apples.

I'm a giver.

The Ingredients.
serves 8 (at least)
12 cups dried bread cubes (I used brown rice bread.)
8 ounces ground pork or turkey sausage, browned and drained
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (no need to peel)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth, plus an additional 1/4 cup if desired

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker (or larger if you have one). Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once, or until the bread is golden brown and toasty. While the bread is toasting, brown the sausage on the stovetop and drain. Toss the bread cubes and sausage together in your slow cooker, and pour in the melted butter.

Add apples, vegetables, and seasonings. Use two large spoons to toss the ingredients and disperse the spices. Pour in 1/2 cup chicken broth, and stir gently to coat bread and veggies with broth. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. When the bread is browned on the top and edges, and the vegetables are tender, your stuffing is done. Stir well, and keep on the warm setting until meal time.
Add an additional 1/4 cup of broth before serving and stir again if you'd like added moisture.

The Verdict.

This was the first time I've  made a stuffing with sausage, and I loved it. I liked the savory, smoky bits strewn throughout the bread cubes, and I loved the way the spices all worked well together. 
 gobble gobble gobble.

Utilizing your slow cookers this Thanksgiving, or any other big honking family Holiday:

Plan ahead. Make your meal plan a week or so before the event, and purchase non-perishable food.

I'm serving:
(or maybe I'll combine the two and add the sausage and apples from this one? not quite sure. I'm leaning that way though...)
we're doing turkey in the oven and ham on the bbq

dessert is being brought. If I was making it, I'd do crustless pumpkin pie and ice cream.
I will do as much as humanly possible in the next few days to keep Thursday from being beyond bonkers.

I suggest making cranberry sauce as early as Monday, chopping all vegetables and keeping them in sealed plastic bags on Tuesday, you can boil potatoes, sweet potatoes early, make dessert a day or 2 ahead of time, etc.

and delegate!

I'm *very* lucky in that Adam enjoys being in the kitchen (probably more than I do!), and likes to chop onions and vegetables. (I'm not ever going to be a person to have a zen moment while chopping onions. It's just not who I am.) 

I also make sure the house is clean days before having company. I've always stuck to my Daily 7, and then just kick it up a notch a few days before expecting a houseful of people. The last thing you need to worry about on a Holiday is whether or not the toilet is clean!

and my last tip? Get 3 large rubbermaid garbage cans, and put them in the middle of the living room. Plop a kid into each one and don't let them out until the event is over.
BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA! :-)

What are your make-ahead secrets for a stress-free (or lesser) Holiday meal?

26 comments:

Monica said...

Helpful tip: use a Reynolds Slow Cooker liner when cooking stuffing. It makes clean-up really, really easy! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The Boob Nazi said...

We're making a cornbread stuffing with sausage this year.... I hope it'll finally make me like stuffing.

justamanicpixiedreamgirl said...

Thanks for the Turkey Day ideas! yum-yum

Coach Laura said...

I am excited to try my first GF stuffing after not having had it since 2006. It's not my absolute favorite food but I didn't know in 2006 that it would be my last gluten-filled T-day, and I kinda miss it. I'm going to make your regular (not cornbread) recipe with the family tradition of chesnuts instead of apples. They had peeled chesnuts at Trader Joe's - score!

Thanks for your contribution to the GF community and for the great crock-pot meals. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sarah said...

I am hosting my first Thanksgiving ever in our new home, and I just bought the Crock-pot Trio on sale at Target to help out! I am going to make your mashed potatoes with cream cheese & sour cream, and I'm going to use the other two for green bean casserole and crustless pumpkin pie. We have a small kitchen so I'm thinking this will help keep things out of the way and cooking!

Rebecca said...

I'm curious after looking at this stuffing recipe and then the other two that were links at the bottom of your post - traditional and cornbread. There's a huge difference in liquid amounts. This recipe calls for hardly any liquid. I'm sure the sausage and apples add some moisture, but still? I always make a cornbread stuffing with sausage, apples, lots of celery and onions, and dried apricots and cranberries (YUM), but the crockpot is calling out to me this year b/c I'm out of oven space. I'm just unsure about how much broth to add and if I want to do eggs or no eggs. Curious about your thoughts on the liquid as well as the difference in texture of using eggs vs. no eggs. THANKS!!!

jennifer said...

My mom just bought the 3 set crock pot for our Thanksgiving, so I will be utilizing 4 slow cookers this year, I'm sure it will make things much easier! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Sarah and Jennifer,

the CrockPot trio works well for cooking, keeping food warm, and great for serving.
BUT. There is a large divet in the side of each crock for a spoon rest.
In order for the food to cook properly you need to put a wedge of foil into this and then put the lid on or you're going to lose valuable moisture and risk burning your food.

When your sides are fully hot/cooked, switch to warm and then put the spoons in for serving.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Rebecca,

The sausage gives off a lot of moisture, but if you'd like a juicier stuffing, add chicken broth before serving, 1/4 cup at a time.

We're "looser" kind of stuffing people---but I know that varies from house to house. :-)

Laura said...

Great timing! I'm making my first Thanksgiving dinner this year and planned on utlizing the slowcooker .. this is the perfect recipe to do. Thanks!

KateRN said...

THANK YOU!! My crock pots are my savior this year...I'm a nurse and I have to work on Thanksgiving. So while I'm toiling away, my food is going to be cooking :D Crock pots saved my life this year! Because we're having a small crowd over too :D Thank you so much for this recipe AND all the other ones too!

Anonymous said...

I make a timeline and work backwards and give myself a timetable re what time each dish has to be started by on the day of.
My kids asked me to make mashed potato stuffing a number of years ago, I guess that's the popular kind here in the Maritimes. It is so good that now I make it every year, and just put bread stuffing for hubby in the neck cavity (I'm still oldfashioned and roast the stuffing inside the bird). But for those who need to be gluten free, it's another option too. Basically it's mashed potatoes, with all the other stuff you normally add to the bread: onion, celery, sage or savoury.
I also used to do a rice stuffing--same idea. WIld rice can be mixed in, also cranberry, apple, pecans, whatever.
Oh but my best tip is this one, and I can't believe it took me so long to learn it: when you're making mashed potatoes, DON'T PEEL THEM FIRST. Just boil them whole, till they're tender right through, them pick the peel off carefully (easy to do, just don't burn your fingers) and mash. It's not only easier, it tastes better because they stay fluffy and don't get waterlogged or dissolve into the cooking water.

Mandy said...

How many loaves of bread did you use? This is my first GF Thanksgiving, and I bought a box of Gluten Free Pantry bread mix to make bread for stuffing. It says it makes a 2lb loaf, will that be enough do you think??

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Mandy,
1 loaf is plenty. I'd recommend making the bread now (mon or tues) and then let it sit for a bit. When you cut it, you'll get crumbs, but that's okay. The cubes don't need to be cube-shaped---just do whatever works.
then bake or toast.

xoxo

mccaigs5 said...

I love your blog! My family has been gf for 2 months now and your blog has been a life saver! One question though: can you add a share button to your posts so that I can share the great stuff I'm making on FaceBook?

Martha said...

Hello Stephanie!
I just bought my first crock pot this week and I was looking online for recipes and came across your blog. I love that you have pics, easy recipes, tips and unbiased opinions on recipes. Your writing is great and love your sense of humor. I already have plans to try a few recipes! Thanks so much for your blog....you have a new fan!

*Roo* said...

Can't wait to try this and the crust less pumpkin pie recipes out this week! I am gluten free & dairy free and hoping to find a good sub for the evaporated milk on the pumpkin recipe!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Awesome beginning and end, Steph! And, I like the part in the middle, too. ;-) Sausage in stuffing rocks. Glad Adam is your sous chef ... every woman should have one. I don't, but I have a man who rubs my feet. I don't always need onions chopped, but I always want my feet rubbed. LOL, but true.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving, Steph!

xo,
Shirley

Gabe said...

Oh that sounds so good! Since I'm not making Thanksgiving dinner (or any part of it) this year I'll have to give this a try later. Thanks!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Lifestyle Lift Journey said...

The recipe sounds delicious! My husband usually cooks lemon stuffed chicken on BBQ but t I'm thinking about surprising him with this recipe. Slow cooker is a wonderful idea!!

Phil said...

it seems delicius! My stomach is starving with this. LOL! I go tell my wife to cook this. Thanks for the ingredients!

Cee Jay Kay said...

This recipe turned out fabulous! This is the first time I've tried gluten free bread, and this was the perfect recipe to try it with. I have to admit that it took a little while for the bread to toast... must be the rice flour or something. Also, I only used 8 cups of bread, and the mix ended up being way too much for my 4 qt. crock pot. Still, my guests loved it, and they were surprised when I told them it was wheat free! This is definitely a keeper recipe. Just an FYI, I toasted the bread two days prior to Thanksgiving in an attempt to get as much prep work for my recipes out of the way. I liked the result, and will probably do that again next time I make this.

CindeeQ said...

I used three crock pots for my Thanksgiving dinner and all three had your recipes in them. This stuffing which was very good and your potatoes with cream cheese/sour cream. YUM!!! and so easy. The third had Mommy Crack in it for an appetizer. The whole thing dissapeared.
Thanks for all the great receipes.

Mandygirl's foodie blog said...

I love all the ideas....I am going to use them for our Christmas since I didn't have to cook for Thanksgiving this year...honestly my favorite tip is sticking kiddos in a rubbermaid bin. I just needed the laugh of the visual of that today. I have 2 boys, 4 and 1, I can so relate.

ALW said...

I made this stuffing (first time making homemade stuffing!) for Thanksgiving this year, and am making it again for Christmas. It was DELICIOUS! I omitted the celery, because I loathe it, and added craisins. Yummm!

Riann said...

I made this for Thanksgiving and was then required to make it again for Christmas. I used some of Trader Joe's spicy apple cider in place of chicken stock and it was great! Thanks!

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