As it turns out, all cubed, baked bread looks the same. But don’t judge a stuffing by its photo, it doesn’t all taste the same. When we took this out of the oven and tasted it, Glenn said, This is delicious. This is it. Just stop now. Then he proceeded to pick out and eat all the apple chunks. Don’t worry though, I stopped Glenn before he ate all the apple and there’s no way he can stop me before I make all the stuffing.
The recipe for the Bacon Apple Fennel Stuffing was excessively (and, in my opinion, unnecessarily) complicated. I glossed over a few parts that I shouldn’t have and followed a few parts that I shouldn’t have. It took me about two and a half hours to make with lots of help from Glenn. He would tell you that it was well worth the effort.
The texture of this one was phenomenal. I’m a big fan of the eggs — they kept things both firm and moist. I expected the flavor to be over the top, but it turned out to be pretty subtle. It still tasted like stuffing, but with a little extra kick from the smoky bacon and the tart apples.
Bacon Apple Fennel Stuffing (adapted from Bon Appetit)
- 1 loaf country-style white bread, cut into 1″ cubes with crusts (about 10 cups)
- 1 pound applewood-smoked bacon slices, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 3/4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth, divided
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 3 onions, finely chopped (about 4 cups)
- 6 tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (about 6 cups)
- 2 fennel bulbs, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 and toast bread until crunchy on the outsides.
- Fry bacon in a skillet until it is just starting to brown. Drain fat.
- Melt butter in a large skillet and saute onions until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Mix onions, apples, fennel, celery, and bacon on a large four-sided sheet pan. Roast at 350 until vegetables are tender, about one hour.
- In a very large bowl, mix roasted vegetables with toasted bread. Add 3/4 cup of broth, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls until the bread won’t soak any more up. You want it to be wet, but no standing liquid in the bottom.
- In order to add more flavor, butter a 9×13 and a sheet of aluminum foil heavily. It’s for flavor, not to keep things from sticking, so don’t use spray oil. Dump your mixture into the pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes more.