Apple, Bacon, & Leek Stuffing
Leeks bring a rich and mellow flavor to this stuffing recipe, with the apples bringing a little sweetness, and the bacon some salty savoriness. Delicious!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 9 slices bacon
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups sliced button mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped leeks, about 4 to 5 leeks
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery, about 3 stalks
- 3 cups coarsely chopped, cored, peeled, Fuji or Granny Smith apples, about 2 large
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 6 cloves
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 12 cups dry country-style bread cubes*
- 1 tablespoon fresh snipped sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- Fresh sage leaves, optional
Preparation time 45mins
Cooking time 45mins
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. In an extra-large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble bacon. Drain fat, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Add butter to drippings in skillet. Add mushrooms, leeks, and celery. Cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add apples and garlic. Cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until apples are just softened. Stir in cream.
In an extra-large bowl combine apple mixture, crumbled bacon, bread cubes, the 1 tablespoon sage, the thyme, and pepper. Drizzle with broth to moisten, tossing gently to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through and top is light brown. If desired, garnish with sage leaves.
To make dry bread cubes, preheat oven to 300°F. Cut 18 to 21 fresh bread slices into 1/2-inch cubes to yield 12 cups bread cubes. Spread cubes in two 15x10x1-inch baking pans. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cubes are dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
Prepare stuffing as directed through Step 2, except do not preheat oven. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, preheat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap; cover baking dish with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes more or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F.
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