A few unlikely ingredients make this stuffing something special.
English muffin bread is called for here; its dense crumb provides the right texture for the stuffing.
Make Ahead: The stuffing can be assembled and baked a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Spray the surface with nonstick olive oil cooking spray and reheat uncovered in a 350-degree oven until warmed through.
Servings: 10 - 12
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 pound bulk pork sausage (no casings)
- 4 ounces chicken livers (sinew and fat discarded), chopped
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, or as needed
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 3 quarts cubed day-old english muffin bread, crusts removed (from about 2 loaves)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have a rimmed baking sheet and a 3-quart casserole dish at hand.
Spread the almonds in a single layer on the baking sheet; bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool completely.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook, stirring frequently. When the sausage is about halfway cooked, add the chicken livers. When both meats are cooked through (uniformly brown, with no pink left), use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl.
Pour the skillet drippings into a measuring cup, and add enough of the melted butter to measure 1 cup. Return the drippings to the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, rosemary, mint and nutmeg; cook for about 10 minutes, until onions are softened but not browned. Add the broth, brandy, salt, pepper, spinach and the sausage-liver mixture, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat as needed so the liquid is bubbling just at the edges, then remove from the heat.
Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Pour the sausage-broth mixture over the bread, and fold to mix evenly. Stir in the cooled toasted almonds and the Parmesan cheese. Transfer to the casserole dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Adapted by food writer Molly Wizenberg from "California Fresh" (Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, 1985) and Brother Timothy of the Christian Brothers, Napa, Calif.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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