Dried Apricot and Sausage Stuffing

My wife found this recipe a decade or so ago in Sunset Magazine, and it's become the family Thanksgiving stuffing ever since. 

Makes: About 12 cups:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1-1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cube (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine
  • Apricot Sausage Stuffing
    2 cups coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 onion (1/2 lb) peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 bag (1 lb) herb stuffing mix
  • 1 jar (8 oz) plum sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 to 2 cups fat skimmed chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a 1 to 2 quart pan over high heat, bring apricots and orange juice to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand about 30 minutes.  
  2. Meanwhile, in a 10 to 12 inch frying pan over medium heat, frequently stir 1/2 cup butter, celery, and onion until vegetables are limp, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add almonds and stir until nuts are golden, 6 to 10 minutes longer.
  4. Scrape mixture into a large bowl.  
  5. In the same frying pan over medium high heat, frequently stir-sausage, crumbling with spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  6. Drain and discard fat; add sausage to bowl.
  7. Add apricots with orange juice, stuffing mix, plum sauce, and thyme; mix well.  
  8. In the frying pan, combine 1/4 cup butter and 1 cup broth; stir often over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over mixture in bowl, mixing to moisten evenly; dressing will be crumbly.
  9. For a more moist dressing, mix in up to 1 more cub broth.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Spoon dressing into a shallow 3 quart casserole. (if making up to 1 day ahead, cover and chill.)  
  12. Bake in a 350 degree oven (uncovered for crusty dressing, covered tightly for moist dressing) until hot (at least 150 degrees in center), 25 to 30 minutes (55 to 60 minutes if chilled).