At some point over the last few years, I saw this recipe in a beautiful Food & Wine magazine edition, ripped it out and tucked it away for later. As we are in juicy-apple-and-freshly-processed-local-pork season, when I came across the page recently, I knew that “later” was now. My family has gobbled this delicious and fun dish twice in recent weeks. I tweaked the recipe to use a pound of mild ground sausage, making these really more meatball than stuffing. They were wonderful served with potatoes and pears (both still appearing at our farmers markets). I can imagine these bites as a much-talked about addition to a holiday potluck or a nice counter balance to a Thanksgiving meal. Wherever you serve them, they’ll be a hit. Promise.
Makes 36-40 mini muffins
- 3 cups good white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 pound mildly spiced ground sausage (local if you can get it)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 medium apple (local if you can get it)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three to four 12-cup mini muffin pans.
- On a baking sheet, toss the bread with oil. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted.
- In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook over medium-high heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sausage. Stir and break up meat until no pink remains. Drain off any excess fat.
- Stir together meat mixture with apples, eggs and broth. Fold in croutons. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Pack the mixture into muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes until browned. Be sure to place cookie sheets under the muffin trays to keep grease from dripping into oven.
- Remove from oven and cool for five minutes. Loosen muffins with a sharp paring knife and lift them out. Serve warm.
- Can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the oven.