Oh, it's been a long while since I've posted.  Life and a trip to London (more on that later) have gotten in the way.  But with the leaves (they're still on the trees!) getting all golden and red, I'm finally ready to turn my head towards Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

With all the hosting we do, I was finding myself getting a little bored with the whole gargantuan meal of fowl and mushy side dishes.  Don't get me wrong.  Thanksgiving is, by far, one of my favorite holidays.  It's not religious - no Old or New Testament significance.  Instead, it's all about getting together with friends, family and digging togetherness.  And feeling really thankful for it.  Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.

It's the meal with which I am so very, very bored.  I've got the cooking technique nailed, for a moist, flavorful bird.  I feel confident with gravy, jazzed-up mash, and some colorful veg - like brussels sprouts, yams, and any other colorful creation that peaks my fancy.  And the stuffing....yup.  Got the stuffing.  The tried and true stuffing.  Which deserves to be shared with you lovelies.

With your next Thanksgiving feast, please consider this savory-sweet, texturally diverse recipe that, were it not for the Tawny Port, might be another gloppy brown mound of wet bread.  With dried cherries, apples, sausage, and hazelnuts, it is a solid score on the table.  And leftovers.

The Best Turkey Stuffing Ever
New Basics Cookbook

1 large loaf of bread, cut into 1" squares and dried on a cookie sheet for 10-12 hrs.
3 c. celery
2. c. chopped onions
2 tart apples, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, browned
2 T. vegetable oil
1 c. toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1 c. dried cherries
1 c. Tawny Port
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sage leaves
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl.

Sauté sausage until brown.  Remove and drain in a separate bowl.  Add celery and onions to the same pan.  Cook until translucent.  Add cooked sausage, onions, and celery and all cooking juice to the bread.

Add to the bowl: apples, hazelnuts, cherries, salt, thyme, sage, and pepper.  Toss.

Add Tawny Port and chicken broth to the bowl and toss.  I try not to over toss, as I prefer non-mushy stuffing but feel free to crunch and smush away with your hands to create the preferred consistency.

Roast in a covered dish at 325˚ for approx. 40-45 mins.  Unbutton your pants and tuck in.

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