Cornbread - Sausage Stuffing With Apples

My own recipe. This makes A LOT of stuffing -- 12 to 14 servings. If you have a lot of leftovers, use it to make my Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast Casserole.

1 1/2 sticks butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and coarsely chopped (I don't remove the skin)
1 pound lightly seasoned bulk sausage (I use Jimmy Dean's breakfast sausage with sage)
3 cups coarsley crumbled cornbread
3 cups coarsley crumbled whole-wheat bread
3 cups coarsley crumbled French bread
2 teaspoons dried Thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 cup dried cranberries, or dried cherries
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 16 oz. can chicken stock

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add chopped celery and onions and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Crumble the sausage and add it to the skillet. Continue cooking over medium heat stirring the ingredients until the sausage is lightly browned. Transfer the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl except the chicken stock. Gently combine. 

If you prefer to stuff your turkey using stuffing, do not add the chicken stock to the above ingredients, and make sure it cools completely before you stuff the bird. I personally do not use stuffing in my turkey. I prefer to cook it separately. If you prefer that too, follow the directions below:

Pour the above ingredients into a large buttered casserole dish. (This makes so much that I purchase a throw-away aluminum pan). Pour the chicken stock over the stuffing and place it in a preheated 325 degree oven.

Bake the stuffing for 30 to 45 minutes. (I like my stuffing a little dry so I check the stuffing as it cooks and add more stock if necessary. If you add more stock, stir the dressing so it doesn't get mushy.)

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