If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I don’t personally eat poultry; however, I have family and friends who do, and they are my personal tasters for all things poultry. =)
While I call this dressing Turkey Sausage and Apple Dressing, you may certainly substitute it with any gluten-free sausage of your choosing. Flavored sausages work well. Smoky, sweet, spicy, seasoned with herbs or cheese – any and all are wonderful choices and go well with the fruit in this dressing.
And as with my Gluten-Free Fruit Dressing, the bread you select is important!
I like to use the kind that’s not too dry, nor too heavy – more like the old kind of gluten-filled bread we used to be able to eat. It should be able to absorb liquid without falling to pieces. A gluten-free bread that holds up well if you make the dressing a couple of days in advance is my preference. Especially because I do make my dressing in advance of Thanksgiving.
The benefits for doing that are twofold: It gives the bread a chance to absorb all the delicious flavors, and it saves a whole lot of time, so that you can be with your guests. Which is really what the holidays are all about, aren’t they? =)
- GF bread (like Rudy's - approximately 14 - 16 oz.) - 1 loaf*
- butter or dairy-free butter - 1/4 cup
- chopped onion - 1 1/2 cups
- chopped celery - 1 1/2 cups
- Turkey sausage (cubed) - 1 lb.
- chopped apple (no need to peel!) - 2 cups
- dried (chopped or minced) apricots - 1 1/2 cups
- ground pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Thyme - 2 teaspoons
- Rosemary - 1 teaspoon
- fresh Sage leaf or 1 teaspoon ground sage - 3 teaspoons
- GF chicken broth - 1 - 1 1/4 cup
- **Sea Salt (to taste) -
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cube the GF bread and lay out on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes (turning occasionally so they toast on each side). I find it's best if they're sort of crispy, yet still have some give to them when you press a finger to them.
Turn the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a baking dish.
In a skillet melt butter. Add onions and turkey sausage and saute together, cooking until the sausage is done (if not pre-cooked) and lightly browned before adding the celery and apples. Saute for about 5 minutes (or until the apple is tender, but not mushy), then add the herbs, apricots, pepper and heat thoroughly.
Mix well with the toasted gluten-free bread cubes. I like to use an over-sized bowl so I can really blend the ingredients together. Pour the chicken broth over the mixture, toss through, and scoop into a prepared covered baking dish.
Bake for 25- 30 minutes.
Stir, adjust moisture level as you prefer, but be careful as it's easy to make GF stuffing/dressing TOO soggy. If you want a crispier top, put it back into the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes or so.
If you want to make it a day or two in advance of the holiday, skip the browning and allow it to cool before refrigerating. Then on the big day, remove from the fridge an hour before reheating. Stir, adjust the moisture (if need be) by adding just a little bit of broth and stir. It may take a minute or two for it to soak in, so be careful about adding too much!
I have reheated it in the oven and the microwave and both work well. Finish by popping in the oven (with the lid off) for a crispier top.
Serves approximately 8 - 10 - But this really depends upon what else you're serving and how much everyone eats! =)
* I have found that Rudy's multigrain gluten-free bread works really well and is my current GF bread of choice for making the moist delicious dressing/stuffing my family loves.
** Seasoned sausage tends to have a lot of salt already in it, so you may want to consider tasting the finished/baked dressing before adding any additional salt to the dressing.