CHESTNUT, PEAR AND SAGE TURKEY DRESSING (for ten to twelve)
1 pound loaf rustic country bread, torn into ½ inch pieces
½ pound pork breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, cut into ½ inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
3 celery stalks, cut into ½ inch dice
3 Bosc pears, cored and cut into ½ inch dice
1 cup peeled and chopped steamed or roasted chestnuts
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh sage
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 cups chicken or turkey stock
salt and freshly black pepper to taste
1. Dry the bread for the stuffing: Tear the bread into ½ inch pieces, spread the bread out on a baking sheet and let it dry overnight.
2. Prepare the dressing: In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. In the same pan, melt the 1 tablespoon butter and add the onion, carrot, celery and pear. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the sausage. Add the chestnuts, parsley, sage, melted butter, stock, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Add the bread and stir to mix well. Can be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely, uncovered, and stored in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.
NOTE: Refrigerate stuffing in a covered container or resealable plastic bag overnight. Bring to room temperature Thursday morning and stuff the dressing loosely into the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Secure the neck flap with kitchen string or pin it to the back with toothpicks or trussing pins. Tying the legs together will help hold the stuffing in the body cavity.
If you are going to roast stuffing separately, place it in a buttered 3 to 4 quart baking dish. Bake the dressing in a 375* oven, uncovered, 1 hour, or until the bread is golden brown and the dressing is heated through. The dressing can be baked while the turkey stands after roasting.
adapted from Williams Sonoma