Thursday, January 1, 2009

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Grandma or Mom have always made two separate stuffings (one without celery for me), but now I just do my own version that is a little bit different - and celery free of course! It is easy enough to add if you like it though - just add two stalks chopped celery.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 pound sliced country white sandwich bread
1 large cooking apple, i.e., Golden Delicious
1 medium onion
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 to 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch fennel seeds
3 cups chicken broth (about 1 1/2 small cans)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons turkey or chicken pan drippings or melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole.
Cut or tear bread into bite-size pieces. Lay bread pieces in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets. Bake until slightly dry and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool.
Peel, core, and coarsely chop the apple. Coarsely chop the onion and parsley.
Melt the 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apple, onion, cranberries, thyme, salt, and fennel seeds; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and parsley and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the toasted bread and the onion and fruit mixture; toss until evenly moistened. Loosely pack the dressing into the prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, until the top is crusty, about 40 minutes. Drizzle the pan drippings or melted butter over the top. Cook until the top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes more.

Upgrades or Make it your Own:
Cook pork sausage until brown and crispy in the skillet. Remove to a plate and cook vegetables and fruit in the residual fat. Stir sausage into stuffing just before baking.

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