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Fig-and-Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel
© John Kernick

Fig-and-Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 12
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • VEGETARIAN

This stuffing is slightly sweet and fragrant, with plenty of herbs. There's no meat in it, so it's a little bit lighter and fresher-tasting than stuffings made with sausage.

  1. One 12-ounce loaf peasant bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 5 ounces sliced almonds (1 1/2 cups)
  3. 12 ounces dried Black Mission figs (2 cups), stemmed and coarsely chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  5. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  6. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  7. 1 onion, finely chopped
  8. 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  9. 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  10. 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  11. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  12. 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely chopped
  13. 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  14. 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  15. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Make Ahead The baked stuffing can be covered with foil and refrigerated overnight. Reheat in the oven before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Pinot Noir's balance of crisp fruit, light spiciness and moderate tannins makes it very versatile—ideal with all the big flavors in this Thanksgiving menu.