Prunes are dried plums — in particular, the small purple plums called prune plums. Prunes appear in both sweet and savory dishes and are often paired with pork, as in this recipe. Dried apricots can replace some or all of the prunes in the dressing, if desired.—Michael McLaughlin
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage with sage, coarsely crumbled
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
4 cups (1 1/4 pound) finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 1/2 pound sourdough bread slices, 2 or 3 days old, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 cups quartered pitted prunes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the sausage, stirring it occasionally without breaking up too much, until just cooked through and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to paper towels to drain. Discard the drippings. Return the pan to medium heat and heat the 1/2 cup butter until it foams.
2. Stir in the onion and poultry seasoning, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine the bread, sausage, and onion mixture.
4. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk the stock into the eggs and stir the stock mixture into the bread mixture. Add the prunes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and mix well.
To bake the dressing along side the turkey
1. In a 325°F (165°C) oven, generously grease a deep 4-quart baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the dressing is lightly browned on top and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, about another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
To bake the dressing in the turkey
1. Loosely stuff the turkey with dressing and truss the larger opening; increase the roasting time of the turkey by 35 to 45 minutes. Generously butter a baking dish and spoon in the remaining dressing. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake alongside the turkey for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the dressing is steaming hot, lightly browned on top, and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, about another 25 minutes, depending on the size of the baking dish. Serve hot.
Recipe © 2001 Weldon Owen and Williams-Sonoma. All rights reserved.