Autumn Fruit and Pecan Stuffing
This savory-sweet stuffing, studded with fresh pears, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and pecans and scented with rosemary and sage makes a delicious complement to roast pork or chicken, as well as turkey.
1 14- to 16-ounce loaf white sandwich bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus addtional for casserole dish
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
2 large ripe, but firm pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces Glace de Volaille Gold® (or Glace de Poulet Gold®) dissolved in 4 cups hot water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Tear or cut the bread into 3/4-inch pieces until you have 8 to 10 cups. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until it is crisp and mostly dry, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and celery cook, stirring occasionally, until they're slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the pears, apricots, cranberries, and pecans.
Add the bread to the mixing bowl, along with the rosemary and sage, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour 2 cups of the dissolved Glace de Volaille Gold® over the stuffing. If the liquid isn't immediately absorbed and pools at the bottom of the bowl, you should have enough; just toss the mixture occasionally for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed. If the bread immediately absorbs the 2 cups of stock, add another 1/2 cup and taste the mixture. The bread should be moist but not soggy. Add up to another 1/2 cup of stock if necessary and reserve the rest of the stock for another use.
Taste the mixture and season again if necessary. Melt the rest of the butter and stir it in along with the beaten eggs.
Butter a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish and spread the stuffing in the dish. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned and crisp, another 20 to 30 minutes.