Caramelized Onion Apple Walnut Sage Stuffing

Stuffing seems like a daunting, but necessary side dish for the Thanksgiving holiday. Do you make the same old stuffing Mom used to make or come up with something new? I have the perfect solution that combines the best of both. This recipe includes some Thanksgiving flavor favorites with fresh, seasonal ingredients that give a new twist to the traditional stuffing you may have grown up with. Whether stuffing right into the turkey or serving in a side dish, it is sure to add flavor to your holiday menu. And, best of all, its easy to prepare!


4 cups rosemary focaccia croutons {see recipe below how to make, find at your local bakery or substitute with Herbed croutons}
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 apples, cored and diced
1 bulb fennel
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 cloves whole, peeled garlic, chopped
1 cup Caramelized Onions & Golden Raisin antipasti
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Walnut Sage Pesto
salt and pepper to taste


1 small loaf rosemary focaccia bread
2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Cut the loaf into 1/4 inch small cubes. If the focaccia is more than about 1 inch thick, cut the thickness in half before cubing. Toss with the melted butter until well coated. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crisp and golden brown. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and place in large mixing bowl.


Place the croutons into a large mixing bowl. Add the caramelized onions & golden raisins.
Cut the tops of the fennel from the bulb. Reserve some of the fronds for garnish. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters. Remove the core and slice into thin 1/4 strips. Cut the celery ribs into 1/4 inch slices. I like to use the delicate and tasty inner ribs and leaves.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add the diced apples, fennel, celery, sage and garlic. Season with 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper.

Cook until fennel is soft and apples are slightly caramelized. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Add the apple mixture and the caramelized onions and golden raisins to the focaccia croutons.

In the same saucepan used for the apple mixture, add the chicken stock over medium heat. Scrape up any bits of caramelization on the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Add the walnut pesto and stir until incorporated. When the broth is simmering, but not boiling, add to the focaccia crouton mixture.
Stir the mixture gently, just until the croutons are well coated and mixture is thoroughly blended. Taste for seasoning.

Spoon into a buttered ovenproof cassarole dish {or reserve and keep refrigerated up to 2 days until ready to stuff into the turkey}. Dot the top of the stuffing with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and continue to bake until the top is crisp and golden brown. {about another 15-20 minutes.}

NOTE: DON'T LET ANYTHING GO TO WASTE! If your turkey comes with the liver, you may want to add it to the stuffing. Heat about 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan and add the livers. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the outsides are nice and caramelized and the inside is pink. Chop into small pieces and add to the stuffing mixture. It adds a delicious depth of flavor to the dish. The turkey necks can also be simmered in the broth {for stuffing} for added flavor.

Serves 6-8

Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry

1 comment:

La Donna Welter said...