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What you need:

stick unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 lbs good-quality white sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (20 cups)
4 inner celery ribs, finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
2 large carrots, finely diced (1 cup)
1 sweet onion, finely diced (2 1/2 cups)
1 lb loose pork or turkey breakfast sausage
2 tbsp chopped sage
2 tbsp chopped thyme
3 cups turkey stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper

What you do:

Preheat the oven to  180 C /350 F/ gas mark 4

Butter a large baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast for 25 minutes, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the 1 stick of butter. Pour half of the butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl. Add the sausage to the skillet in lumps and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Return the vegetables to the skillet, add the sage and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Scrape the sausage mixture into the large bowl and add the toasted bread cubes. Add the remaining 2 cups of stock and stir until the bread is evenly moistened. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the stuffing in the baking dish and brush with the reserved melted butter.

Bake the stuffing in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour, until it is heated through and the top is browned and crisp. Let the stuffing stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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