Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté the apples, pecans, onion and celery in the sauté pan until just tender. Add the sage, salt and pepper. Add the bread and mix thoroughly. Add the stock, a little at a time, until it is absorbed and the stuffing reaches the desired consistency (all a matter of taste, really; you may need more or less stock).
Cool to use as an actual stuffing or put in a shallow buttered casserole and bake about ½ hour at 350° until crisp and crusty on top to serve as a side dish.
Recipe compliments of Kurt Friese, A Cook’s Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland (Ice Cube Press, September 2008).
Editor's note: The Arizona pecan harvest usually begins in December and ends in February. Look for pecans at your local farmers’ market or from Green Valley Pecan Company (www.greenvalleypecan.com), which offers shelled and unshelled pecans, organic pecan halves, candied pecans and other gifts.