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    Sausage Stuffing

    Thanksgiving "Ferry Building" Stuffing

     
    Serves 8-12

    2 1-pound loaves of Acme sourdough bread (or other quality bread), crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch dice (20 cups)
    2 tablespoons Boccalone Lard
    1 1/2 pounds Boccalone Easton’s Breakfast Sausage
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
    2 large sweet onions, diced 
    2 large carrots, diced 
    6 large celery ribs, diced 
    1 head fennel, diced 
    2 tablespoons picked thyme 
    1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage 
    1 cup dry white wine (See the Wine Merchant) 
    2 dozen medium to large shucked Hog Island oysters (or other quality oysters), halved, 1/2 cup liquor reserved 
    3 cups chicken stock 
    Salt and freshly ground pepper 

    Preheat the oven to 250°. Spread the bread on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, until crisp; let cool. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl. 

    In a large skillet, add 2 tbsp lard and cook the sausage meat over moderate heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until no pink remains, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, add the sausage to the bread in the bowl.  

    Add the 4 tablespoons of solid butter to the fat in the skillet and heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over high heat until reduced by three fourths, about 4 minutes. 

    Add the vegetable mixture to the bread cubes and sausage and toss. Add the oysters and their liquor, and enough stock so that the bread is very moist but not overly soggy; season the stuffing with salt and pepper. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dishes. 

    Bake the stuffing in the upper third of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Preheat the broiler. Broil the stuffing 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, rotating the baking dishes as needed, until nicely browned on top. Serve right away.