We started serving these stuffing bites during the holidays last year and they were a huge hit. The combination of Italian sausage, sweet apricot and smoky bacon is irresistible. You can make them in advance and re-warm them right before serving. They would be great served with a honey-mustard dip too, if you like dipping sauces.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Makes about 34 pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound Italian sausage
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
5 cups dried white bread cubes, 1/2-inch – or 1 bag of your favorite dried stuffing
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups chicken broth
2 eggs, well beaten
2 8-oz packages applewood or cherrywood smoked bacon – I recommend Neuske’s Brand
Special equipment: mini muffin tins
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and then add the sausage. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon or spatula while cooking so that it crumbles. Add the onion, celery and sage and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the bread cubes, apricots, salt, pepper and chicken broth and cook until liquid has been absorbed. Transfer stuffing to a bowl and chill for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Add eggs to the stuffing and mix until well incorporated.
Open both packages of bacon and cut each in half widthwise. You should have about 34 strips of 3 to 4 inch pieces. Place one piece of bacon in the bottom of each muffin tin hole, with the sides overlapping.
Using a tablespoon, scoop balls of the mixture into each muffin hole. Wrap the ends of the bacon around the stuffing and then flip the ball over so that the seam of the bacon is on the bottom. This will prevent the bacon from unwrapping when baking.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and golden. Remove the bites from the muffin tins and cool slightly before serving.