One 12-ounce loaf peasant bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 ounces sliced almonds (1 1/2 cups)
12 ounces dried Black Mission figs (2 cups), stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sage
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely chopped
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the bread on a large baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring once, until slightly dry. Spread the almonds on another baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Let the almonds cool, then lightly crush them. Transfer the bread and almonds to a large bowl and add the figs, sage and parsley.
In a large skillet, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, celery, carrots, chopped fennel bulb, garlic and fennel seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then scrape the vegetables into the bread mixture in the bowl. Stir in the eggs and stock and season with salt and pepper.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread the stuffing mixture in the dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer, until the top is lightly browned. Serve hot.
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