- 1 pound brioche loaf, cut into 1-inch dice (about 12 cups)
- ¾ cup Dried Cherries
- ¾ cup Madeira wine or port
- 1½ pounds bulk Italian sausage, or if linked, remove from casing
- 2 medium onions, cut in ½-inch dice
- 4 ribs celery, cut in ½-inch dice
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in ½-inch dice
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, cut in ½-inch dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2½ cups chicken stock
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Divide bread between two baking sheets and bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes.
- 2. Place the Dried Cherries and Madeira in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
- 3. While the bread is toasting, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and, using a spoon to break up large chunks, cook until nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and reserve. Add the butter to the pan. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onions, celery, carrot, garlic, and apples. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook until just starting to caramelize, 15-20 minutes, and then remove from heat.
- 4. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, sausage, sautéed vegetables, pecans, stock, and the Madeira and Dried Cherry mix. Toss well to combine and taste to check seasoning.
- 5. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Butter the sides of a 6-quart baking dish. Place the dressing mixture in the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until top is a crispy golden brown, 10-15 minutes more.