Apples and sage are one of the most evocative fall pairings we know—the sweetness and subtle acidity of aromatic apples like Galas or Pink Ladies, with the resinous, piny scent of the fresh herb. We’ve paired them for the ultimate autumnal celebration dish, the Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s a classic, easy-to-assemble bread stuffing baked outside of the bird (our favorite method, and the safest, since it eliminates worries about internal temperatures and harmful bacteria). Also: the top turns golden and crispy, perfect for soaking up gravy.
Make-ahead note: This stuffing can be completely made ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Rewarm uncovered in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 40 mins, plus 40 mins baking time Active: 40 mins
- 1 (1-pound) loaf day-old, unsliced bread, such as a Pullman loaf or French or Italian bread
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), plus more to coat the baking dish
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 2 medium apples, such as Gala, Pink Lady, or Golden Delicious, medium dice
- 3 medium celery stalks, medium dice
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter and set aside. Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and place in a large, heatproof bowl; set aside.
- Melt the measured butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, celery, thyme, and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife, about 6 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the stock or broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the vegetable-apple mixture to the reserved bread cubes. Season with two or three large pinches of salt and two large pinches of pepper, then stir to evenly combine. If the mixture seems too dry, add more stock or broth 1/4 cup at a time (but make sure it doesn’t get mushy).
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, until the top of the stuffing just starts to get brown and crusty, about 30 to 40 minutes.