1largeloaf stale Italian or Sourdough breadcrusts trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces, less than 1" square.
1poundbulk sausagepreferably sage stuffing
3granny smith applespeeled, seeded and diced
1/4cupflat leaf parsleyminced
2teaspoonsfennel seedcrushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
1 1/2 - 2 cupslow sodium chicken broth
ONE OR TWO DAYS BEFORE:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable spray and set aside.
Trim the crusts from the bread and cut it into small dice (less than 1" square). Place the bread in a very large bowl (I use a wide salad bowl about 14" in diameter) and spread it out to expose it to as much air to dry out. Let the bread rest out overnight to get stale.
If you want to get a leg up, chop the apples, onions and fennel and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the stuffing.
MAKING THE STUFFING:
Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the sausage in the skillet and break it apart with the back of a wooden spoon or fork as it cooks and browns.
When the sausage has browned, add the butter, diced fennel, celery, onions, apples, thyme, parsley, sage, fennel seed, fenugreek, kosher salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and fragrant.
Add the sausage mixture to the dried bread and toss to combine. Drizzle the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time over the stuffing, tossing well after each addition of broth. The bread should be moist, but not sopping wet.
Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned and crispy. Serve.