- 8 cups Ciabatta or French bread, cut into 1½-inch cubes, (about 1 pound)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound uncooked chicken apple sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup cooked (vacuum packed) chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 11/2 cups nut and dried fruit trail mix, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped sage leaves
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and let sit out overnight to dry out the bread. Turn it at least once to dry it out evenly. Set aside.
- In a large skillet heat the oil and butter on medium heat and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes or until nicely softened. Add the celery and continue sautéing until the celery is crisp tender, about 4 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl.
- In the same pan brown the sausage for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Cool and add to the vegetables. Add the chestnuts, trail mix, thyme, sage, bread cubes and parsley and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly add the mixing broth carefully, making sure that the stuffing is moist but not too compact, if you are planning to stuff the turkey since it will expand. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- If not stuffing the turkey, grease a 10-cup baking dish and transfer the stuffing into it. Pat the top with butter. The stuffing may be compacted because it will not expand in the pan. Cover the stuffing well with foil.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Bake the stuffing for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the top is brown. Serve immediately.
May be prepared 2 days in advance through step 4, covered and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator one hour ahead of baking.
Serves 8 to 12 people.