- 8 cups sourdough bread, cubed or torn into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2-inch)
- 1 pound (5 links) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 small (or baby) leek, diced
- 3/4 cup (3–4 ribs) celery, diced
- kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1/2 dried thyme
- 1/4 ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup (1–1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 2 Bosc or Comice pears, chopped (peeled if desired)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch oven safe casserole dish, set aside. Add the sourdough bread to a large mixing bowl, set aside.
- Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until deeply browned. As the sausage cooks, use a spatula to break it into small, bite-size pieces. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage from the skillet, and let cool.
- Add the chopped onion, leek and celery to the skillet, and cook in the leftover sausage grease until just softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. If there isn’t enough grease to lightly coat the vegetables, add 1 Tbsp of the melted butter to the skillet.
- Add the garlic, sage, thyme and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Cook for another two minutes, then remove from the heat and add the melted butter, chicken broth and sausage to the skillet. Give a good stir to combine, then slowly pour over the bread, and toss to combine. The bread should be evenly moist, but not soggy. Add the pear and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg until blended, then drizzle over the stuffing mixture and gently mix until just combined. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish, and spread in an even layer.
- Cover the stuffing with foil and baked until thoroughly cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and slightly crispy. Top with dried cranberries and serve warm.