I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had a nice get together with friends with turkey that was fried and turkey that was baked. Both were delicious. Also got to watch some football of course. For my foreign visitors, I mean American football like the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. And I hope that your country has a form of our American Thanksgiving. This is the holiday were everyone eats too much but feels good for doing it! Then we take a nap!
I am still in the whole holiday feast mode, so I came across this recipe that was sponsored by the Bordeaux wine makers of France I guess. This is actually a nice appetizer that you could make ahead and serve before the main event which would be a succulent turkey. It is sausage and apple dressing bites. A small teaser that has that dressing taste in a small bite. I must say that I am sold on the idea! When I was taking the photos for this post, the sausage and apple bites were disappearing before my eyes. The verdict is in though, they taste a lot better when they are hot. I got to try them at all temps and hot is definitely the best. And for the wine, (since they suggested it), try a French Bordeaux. Try to find a 2005 vintage, but any will do. I love that dry French wine taste which is truly a taste all it’s own. You can check out their website, http://www.bordeaux.com/discover.
To start your sausage and apple dressing bites, grab 4 slices of sturdy white country bread and cube into 1/2 inch cubes.
Grab a sheet pan and spread out the cubes and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Just mix it up with your hands.
Place the sheet pan in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 or 12 minutes until nicely browned, like this! I used our convection oven feature for this. It seems to do a better job of browning than standard bake. Use it if you have a convection oven.
In the meantime, finely chop the garlic, onion and celery.
You can see how fine I chopped the onion and celery.
Assemble all the ingredients in a bowl, let them soak for 5 minutes or so, then place in the mini muffin pan. I used a 1 3/4 inch ice cream scoop to fill the tins. Pack them down with your fingers. This batch made exactly 24 mini sausage and apple dressing bites!
Into the oven.
Out of the oven. They pulled right out of the pan with my fingers. These are factory coated muffin pans and I didn’t pre-grease the pan.
SAUSAGE AND APPLE DRESSING BITES
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 4 ounces white country bread , cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage , casings removed
- 6 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 small Granny Smith apple , peeled and finely chopped
- 4 large eggs , beaten
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 12-cup mini-muffin pans with cooking spray.
- On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted. Transfer the croutons to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the sausage, garlic and sage and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no trace of pink remains, 5 minutes.
- Mix the sausage, apple, eggs and broth into the croutons; season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Pack the stuffing into the muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Loosen the muffins with a sharp paring knife and lift them out.
- Serve warm.
I thought that these would be pretty delicate and hard to handle. Totally wrong. These are easy to grab with fingers and devour in one bite! Very good as they are but next time I’m going to change things up a bit. It’s fun to experiment and I think I know my tastes enough to suggest a few improvements. First of all, in instruction #3, only use 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. No need for the extra fat. The croutons have enough oil.
Next, I suggest using either a stronger Italian sausage or even a very sage forward breakfast type sausage. It needs something to really stand out and either of these would work. Just think, Thanksgiving dressing, and imagine the flavors and spices that are present. I think more sage would be better. Probably double the amount.
Finally, the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth. I’m not sure why this was added unless they got some advertising revenue from chicken broth producers! Next time I’m going to use apple cider, (juice), to give the bites a little more sweetness.
These sausage and apple dressing bites are really great appetizers and I think could be better with the suggestions I made. I hope you try these and let me know what you think. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s fun eating!