There's a lot of debate at Thanksgiving tables over whose stuffing, or dressing, is best. Should it be put it inside the bird and cooked? Cooked it as a casserole? What kind of bread should you use? We may never know the right answers.
One thing, however, is for sure. Stuffing is far better with sausage in it, especially when some of the ingredients have been cooked in the sausage's rendered pork fat. Frederick (Freddy) and Danielle Kaufmann, the husband and wife team behind Proper Sausages, have become fast favorites among chefs and farmer's market enthusiasts since they started slinging gourmet links earlier this year.
So far they've developed custom blends for Blue Collar - with Berkshire pork, fresh thyme and cayenne pepper - as well as Giorgio Rapicavoli's Eating House. The pair can usually be found at a Miami-Dade farmer's market, like the Sunday market in Pinecrest or the Upper Eastside Market, at 66th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, on Saturday mornings. Their signature sausage, dubbed The Proper, contains Berkshire pork, breadcrumbs, fresh sage, mace and black pepper.
"We developed this recipe for the proper specifically," Kaufman said. "However, we are developing a version of the proper with apples and cranberries for this weekend so that would work as well, but the proper, with its pepper and sage is ideal."
Proper Sausage Stuffing with Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts
Twenty minutes prep, one hour cooking, makes 10 servings
¼ pound unsalted butter
4 shallots, small dice
1 pound Proper Sausage, removed from casing
1 cup of dried cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, small dice
¾ cup of chopped walnuts
10 cups of stale rustic bread, baguette will do, no crusts or fresh bread, toasted until crispy, but no color
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
Zest of one lemon
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Preheat oven to 350°F
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots, lightly season with salt and cook until soft. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add apples and cook until soft. Sprinkle in thyme and walnuts and turn off heat.
Toss bread with all of the ingredients in the pan and add the chicken stock. Knead with hands until the bread is soft and moist, and all the ingredients are distributed evenly. Try a small amount, and then add salt to taste. Transfer to a large, deep ovenproof dish. Bake until hot all the way through and crusty on top.