The craziness of the holidays are over and it’s time to get back on track. I hope everyone had wonderful holidays full of fun with family and friends!
This year I played host for two Christmas dinners which meant lots of cooking and also gave me the opportunity to try some new recipes along with the traditional family favorites! Christmas Eve was a family dinner with my parents and brothers family for which I cooked my first ever turkey. I’ll be honest, I was more then a little nervous about ruining it or even worse making everyone sick! But I’ll admit it turned out wonderful and was one of my favorite turkey dinners ever! The turkey was much easier then I thought it would be. All I did was rub it with a butter and lemon zest mixture under the skin which made it nice and juicy and I cut up a couple clementines that I stuffed the turkey with. It had a subtle citrus taste and was moist and delicious.
The star of the dinner turned out to be the new family favorite recipe I’m going to share today! I definitely didn’t want to cook the turkey with the stuffing inside (because I’ve heard that can be when you run into trouble with under cooking and food poisoning) so I hunted for a tasty stuffing bake. This recipe is a cross between a stuffing and a bread pudding and is absolutely delicious! Because it’s more then a traditional stuffing I can even see making this to go along side pork tenderloin or a variety of other meat dishes. The original recipe came from Good Housekeeping but I made a couple small adjustments to suit tastes of my family members. Feel free to check out the original recipe here if you would like to use it without my changes. Whether you make this as part of a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner or just for a regular dinner I’m sure you’ll love it! I know this will become a staple of any Holiday dinners in my family! Enjoy! ♥
Herb and Apple Bread Pudding Stuffing Bake
8 cups bread (such as multi-grain calabrese loaf) crusts removed and cut into ¾ inch cubes
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 ounces pancetta, cut into ½ cubes
2 cups (1 large) sweet onion
1 ½ cups (about 3 large stalks) chopped celery
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped into large cubes
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and Pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
5 extra large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups (8 ounces) freshly grated gruyere cheese
½ to 1 cup toasted pine nuts (or almond slivers) (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange bread in single layer on a large cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned, set aside.
White bread toasts, in 12 inch skillet, heat butter on medium-low. Add pancetta; increase heat to medium and cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add onion, celery and apple; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in ½ cup stock, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Meanwhile in a very large bowl, beat eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 ½ cups gruyere. Add bread, then vegetables mixture, stirring until well combined. Let stand 30 minutes to allow bread to soak.
Add toasted pine nuts and stir mixture well. Transfer to a 9 x 13 (2.5 to 3 L) casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. (To make ahead assemble bread pudding, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 day before baking).
Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350 F until top is brown and custard is set (when knife inserted in center comes out clean). Serve hot or warm.