Wild Rice and Sausage

This recipe was adapted from Southern Living 1986 Annual Recipes cookbook and that is probably how long we have been making it.  Some years we don't make a turkey but rather have ham for Thanksgiving and this dish captures the flavors and aroma of traditional dressing or stuffing.  Our oldest son Chris has made it and taken it to pitch in dinners with a lot of success.  It makes a good amount, keeps well, and doubles nicely.  I have also frozen it and reintroduced it at a later time and it was all good!!  I am myself looking forward to having it this Thanksgiving!!

You will need:
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 C. diced celery
1 lg. onion diced
1 green pepper seeded and diced (I omit this)
1 clove minced garlic
3 C. chicken broth
1 undiluted can of cream of mushroom soup
1 undiluted can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. can of drained sliced water chestnuts
8 oz. drained sliced mushrooms
6 oz. pkg. dry long grain and wild rice mix
Pinch of dry whole thyme
1 t. dried parsley flakes
black pepper
dash of dried red pepper flakes
2 oz. sliced almonds
fresh parsley for garnish, optional
large 3 quart buttered casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a large skillet combine over medium heat the sausage, celery, onion, optional green pepper, and garlic;  cook until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender.  Stir to crumble the meat and drain well when done.  Stir together the remaining ingredients except the almonds and parsley for garnish.  Mix well.  Spoon into prepared dish and sprinkle with almonds.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours.  Yield 12 servings.
NOTE:  This makes a really large casserole and I don't want to have so many leftovers so I put this into 2 buttered casseroles and I am freezing one to bake another time and I am refrigerating the other and will add the almonds and bake it on Thursday.   I will probably bake it an hour and see if that is enough with the reduced volume.

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