Fennel Sausage Stuffing

Fennel Sausage Stuffing
Serves 8 to 12

The fennel in this stuffing makes this dish standout

What you need:
12 tablespoons salted butter, divided, plus more to butter the casserole
1 cup medium-dice yellow onion
1 cup medium-dice celery
1 cup medium-dice fennel
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
10 cups stale French bread, cut into one-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
3 cups chicken stock

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and fennel, and cook 15 minutes, stirring often, or until the onions are lightly browned and translucent. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and set aside, reserving the sauté pan.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the sausage, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through. Add the cooked sausage to bowl of vegetables, scraping the pan to incorporate any browned bits.
Add the breadcrumbs to the bowl and toss gently but thoroughly. Season with the salt, pepper, and rubbed sage, and toss lightly.
Add the chicken stock and toss until the breadcrumbs have completely absorbed the liquid.
Transfer the mixture to a buttered, 13 x 9 x 2-inch casserole and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and crusty on top. Let the sausage stuffing rest 5 minutes before serving.

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