With loads of flavour, textures and layers in every bite - this stuffing has to be my favourite side dish. It's a simple recipe but a few extra steps such as toasting the bread beforehand to help keep them crispy not soggy and using tin foil to lock in the moisture really do make such a difference. Finished with a drizzle of butter and sage - just wow, you have to try this!
Total time to make : 45 - 50 minutes
Time to prep : 15 minutes
Time to cook : 30 - 35 minutes
Servings : 6 - 8
400g (~12 slices) white bread*
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
10 - 12 sage leaves, finely chopped
80g pecans, roughly chopped
180g dried apricots, roughly chopped
250ml chicken stock
100ml whole milk (or cream)
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
Salt and pepper, to season
4 tbsp butter
6 sage leaves
Pre-heat a fan oven to180ºC
Cube the bread up into even chunks and spread them onto a baking sheet or two. Toast in the oven until lightly golden (~ 8 mins). Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly! Once golden, tip your toasted bread cubes into the biggest mixing bowl you have (as everything will be going in here).
In a frying pan add in 1 tbsp of butter. Fry the sausage-meat until cooked through, browned on the outside with some golden crispy bits. Tip this into the bowl with the toasted bread cubes or crumbs, scraping in all of the butter and fat from the pan.
Return the pan to the heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter over a medium heat until melted and then add in the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent, it should take about 5 minutes - we don't want it crispy and golden so be careful not to overcook it. Add in the garlic, sage and thyme and stir for another minute until aromatic. Then add in the stock and milk, bring to a simmer then turn off the heat.
Add the roughly chopped pecans and apricots into the mixing bowl. Pour over the liquid mixture and add the freshly grated nutmeg. stir everything together. Sit to one side to absorb the flavours.
Tip the mixture into a baking dish - mine is a 25cm pie dish but you can use any shape - and gently pat down the mixture with the back of a spoon to help compact everything together. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes until the top is golden (you can also finish it off under the grill for a few minutes but be sure to keep an eye on it as it can burn very quickly!).
Make the sage brown butter just before you're ready to serve your stuffing. Melt the butter down in a saucepan over a high heat, keep swirling it round the pan until it smells toasty and darkens in colour. Add in the sage leaves and cook for about 1 minute, they should crispy up. Pour this over the stuffing before serving.
20g fat, 48g carbs, 16g protein
Good to know:
Use cheap, white thickly sliced bread here. No need for fancy sourdough. You could also use 400g breadcrumbs if you prefer.
If you can't find sausage meat you can take sausages out from their skins
Miss out the sausages and use vegetable stock to make this veggie-friendly, you can double up the apricots and pecans or add an onion and a leek.
Use olive oil instead of butter to make this vegan.
You can make this ahead of time and leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.