Sausage Apple Stuffing & Mulled Wine

When we camped over Thanksgiving we made pretty much everything you need to make a good Thanksgiving dinner, except stuffing. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since we got back, I really love the stuffing part of Thanksgiving dinner! So I decided to make it solo for dinner one night. Great decision!

Since we weren't eating it with turkey I put sausage in it to liven it up and help make it a meal. Stuffing plus the candles and mulled wine = great food night.

Sausage Apple Stuffing:

2 tbs olive oil
1 lb spicy pork sausage
about 1 cup of celery; diced
about 1 cup of white onion; diced
1 granny smith apple; peeled and diced
1 honeycrisp apple; peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic; minced
2-3 tbs fresh parsley; chopped
3-4 tbs fresh sage; chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 lb loaf rustic bread; stale and cut into cubes
(I cubed mine and set it out until the next day, if you forget to do this you can toast them in the oven a bit to help speed that all up)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbs butter
3 eggs

1    heat olive oil in a pan and add in the pork sausage in chunks
2    brown the sausage and make sure to break it up into small pieces
3    transfer the sausage to a bowl, leave behind the juices
4    toss in the celery, onion, apples garlic, parsley, sage, bay leaves, S&P and simmer
      for about 5-7 minutes
5    mix the vegetable mixture in with the sausage
(this mixture can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge, this helps all the flavors have time to come out as well, just make sure it is back to room temp before you toss it with the bread)
6     lightly grease a 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350
7     in a pot heat the milk, broth and butter over low heat, this helps it from curdling with
       the hot sausage mixture
8     then mix the bread, milk mixture and sausage mixture together in a large bowl
9     lightly beat the eggs and mix them in as well
10   transfer it all to the 9x13 dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, uncovered
11   you can top it with some more fresh parsley when it comes out if you'd like

Mulled Wine:

Our friend Liz introduced us to this and then I couldn't help but try mixing it up on my own
(I think of it as the sangria of the winter, you can customize it in almost any random way you choose and it still turns out great)
also this is awesome for a group of people but be sure to make more than one batch, 1 doesn't go too far

1 bottle of red wine; I used Merlot
1 orange
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup orange liquoer
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tbs honey
(I would have thrown some whole cloves in if I had any)

1   pour wine into a large pot and turn heat on medium-low
2   using and apple peeler peel off large pieces of the orange zest and place in pot
3   then peel apart the orange and place the slices in too
4   dump in the rest of the ingredients and keep on heat for at least 20 minutes to allow the
     flavors to blend
5   remove the orange zest and serve, you can just leave in on the stove on low and people
     can keep coming back for more hot mulled wine

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