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Sausage and Pecan Stuffing with Raisins
The pecans add a great texture, and the raisins add a lovely sweetness

Ingredients:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 stick (1/2 cup) tablespoons butter
3 cups minced yellow onions
2 cups diced celery
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cubed, stale cornbread
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
1. In a large skillet over moderately high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving grease in skillet. Set sausage aside to drain.
2. Add the butter to the skillet and melt over moderate heat. Add onions, celery, salt, and pepper, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add cornbread, thyme, sage, raisins, pecans, and sausage, and stir to mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cool fully before stuffing bird.
Note: If the stuffing is not to be cooked inside the bird: after blending the cornbread and sausage, add 6 additional tablespoons butter, melted, and 1 1/2  cups chicken stock. Stir well. Place in a large buttered roasting pan and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; remove cover, and bake for another 20 minutes.

This is a meat stuffing with something extra: the pecans add a great texture, and the raisins add a lovely sweetness. Makes enough stuffing for a 14 -- to 16-pound turkey