Focaccia Stuffing with Apple, Sausage and Kale
Adding slivered kale to our focaccia stuffing mix results in a savory dish with a pop of fresh color and flavor. The optional fried sage leaves add even more flavor and a little crunch.
- 2 firm, tart apples, such as Granny Smith
- 1 lb. (500 g) Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large bunch dinosaur kale, slivered (4 to 5 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 package focaccia stuffing
- 3 to 4 cups (750 ml to 1 l) chicken or turkey stock, warmed
For the garnish (optional):
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 12 to 14 fresh sage leaves
- Kosher salt
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish.
Core the apples and cut into wedges 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick, then halve each wedge crosswise. Set aside.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a heatproof bowl and set aside. Pour off any fat remaining in the pan and discard, then add the olive oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the apples and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes; do not allow the onions to brown. Add the kale and continue cooking until the kale is wilted and tender, about 6 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the focaccia stuffing with the sausage and the apple, onion and kale mixture. Add the stock 1/2 cup (125 ml) at a time, tossing the mixture constantly, making sure the stock is completely absorbed into the croutons and does not pool in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a crouton; it should be moist throughout but not soggy. You may not need all of the stock.
Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
If using the sage leaves, in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the sage leaves to the pan and fry until slightly crisp, 3 to 4 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the leaves to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Sprinkle the leaves with salt, then crumble the sage leaves on top of the stuffing before serving. Serves 10 to 12.