————–Warning! This stuffing is DELICIOUS but it is not a “healthy” recipe. It’s an “only on a holiday” recipe, so therefore we are ok with the amount of butter and bread it contains! That is why we eat extra healthily and exercise a little extra leading up to a holiday like Thanksgiving- so we can enjoy “treats” like this!—————————————————————————————————————————————-
Also note that this recipe came from the 1980 November issue of Gourmet magazine and we are just retyping verbatim (except from a few personal tips). We did not invent it :). It’s the favorite of Liz’s family, both her parents and siblings and her kids! So credit goes to both Gourmet and Liz’s dad for keeping the copy of Gourmet! It is well worth the effort, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
You will need to either save the liver from the giblet package that comes in your turkey or buy turkey livers. Don’t skip this! You will not notice a liver taste but you will miss it if you don’t use them. Also, don’t substitute anything else for the Madeira wine. It provides a key flavor note in this dish. You can buy it at a liquor store.
In a ceramic or glass bowl let 6 ounces pitted prunes, chopped coarse, macerate (soak) in 1/2 cup (or enough to cover) Madeira for at least 2 hours.
Cut enough day old French or Italian bread (I like a firm sourdough) into 1/2 inch cubes to measure 5 cups (usually 2 full loaves crust removed), spread it in a jelly rolll pan, and toast it in a preheated moderately slow oven (325) until it is crisp and golden (about 30-45 min). Perform the next steps while the bread is toasting.
In a stainless steel or enameled skillet cook 2 cups chopped onion in 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter over moderate heat for 5 minutes, or until it is softened. Add 2 cups each of chopped celery and peeled, cored, and chopped tart apple (granny smith or pippin), cook the mixture for 5 minutes, or until the celery is softened slightly, and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
In the fat remaining in the skillet cook 1 1/2 pounds sausage meat (bulk Italian works great, not spicy or sweet), breaking it up with a fork, and the reserved (from the giblet bag, or buy separately) turkey liver, minced, sturring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the mixture is lightly colored, and transfer the mixture to the bowl.
Transfer the bread to the bowl, add the prune mixture, 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and freshly grated nutmeg (or from a jar), salt and pepper to taste, and toss the stuffing well. Transfer to the dish of your choice.
Bake the stuffing in a 350 oven for 40 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.
Stuffing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated a day ahead. Bring to room temp before baking or plan on about 15 minutes extra baking time. Make sure it is piping hot in the center if made ahead of time.