This recipe comes down to me through my mother, who learned it from my grandma Unger. It originated with my great-grandmother Catherine Halbauer Unger, who brought it over from Austria. This recipe was one of the few possessions she was able to smuggle out of the old country, crossing the Alps in the dead of winter with a baby in one arm and a sack of potatoes in the other, killing a border guard with her bare hands. Truly one of our family's most important culinary treasures.
It was originally made with sausage, but I’ve substituted ground beef. My mother uses half sausage and half beef. Ground turkey can be used as well.
1 pd. Ground beef
2-3 apples, with skin on, chopped fine
2 medium onions, chopped fine
3 pieces celery, chopped fine
2-3 carrots, chopped fine
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
(You can sauté the vegetables for a few minutes if you like, although I find it is not necessary. They can also be put in a food processor.)
1 ½ - 2 loaves whole wheat or multi-grain bread, dried for several days and cubed. (You can use white bread or croutons, although I doubt they had either in the old country.)
Several cups chicken stock
Salt, pepper, sage and thyme to taste
Brown the beef, adding half the onions while cooking and the garlic just before it’s done. Also add salt and pepper and spices and mix in well. Add to bread cubes in large bowl and mix in. Add vegetables and as much stock as necessary to get a good consistency. Place inside turkey and cook until it reaches 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing. Excess stuffing can be cooked in a covered pan at 375 for one hour.