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can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.
makes 15 cups

For sausage stuffing:
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For stuffing:
2 pounds rye bread slices, crusts removed
1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into
1/4-inch strips
4 ounces unsalted butter
3 medium crisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound Savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
to taste salt and ground black pepper

Sage sausages:
In a bowl, combine the stuffing ingredients. Shape sausages into 8 patties. Cook in a frying pan over medium heat until fully cooked, turning once. Cool patties and break into 1/2-inch pieces.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into 1-inch dices. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. In a large cast-iron pan, fry the bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate. Save 4 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Melt butter in the cast-iron pan together with the reserved bacon fat.
Add apples and cabbage. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, then stir in the sausage, bacon, sage and thyme. Add the bread and toss well. Gradually stir in the chicken or turkey stock. Season stuffing with salt and pepper.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Reserve 5 cups of the stuffing for the turkey, and transfer the rest to the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the top is crisp and golden.