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16 cups (2 loaves) loosely packed dried bread cubes
1 lb. Lepp’s Maple Breakfast sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup butter
5–6 stalks celery, chopped
3 onions, chopped
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Chicken or vegetable broth (approx. 1 cup)
The night before, cut the bread into cubes and leave on the counter overnight to dry. Or bake the cubes for 1 hour at 200 degrees.
Fry sausage meat until no longer pink, breaking up with a fork so that it separates into small pieces. Remove from frying pan and pour off excess fat. In the same frying pan, melt butter and sauté onion and celery until soft.
In a large bowl toss together bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, sausage, apple, spices and 1/2 cup broth. Transfer to a slow cooker* and cover. Cook on high for 45 minutes and then reduce heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 hours, checking a few times to stir. If after 2 hours, the stuffing appears dry, stir and add 2 tablespoons broth. (Allow at least 2 hours of cooking time before you add broth, as ingredients give off moisture as they cook.) Give it a chance to soak in and cook for 30 minutes before adding more broth – too much broth and the stuffing can become quite gummy.
This can also be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Serve and enjoy!
Makes 10 side dish portions.
* I use a 6 ½ qt slow cooker and it fits well. You could divide into two smaller ones, but the stuffing does cook down so you can pack it quite tight.