My favorite stuffing hands down! circa 2010
The flavor that I associate most with Thanksgiving is sage. This recipe gives a double dose of it by including it within the dressing and the crispy leaves on top. I hardly use this herb during the rest of the year, but I go bonkers for it on Thanksgiving. The apricots, Grand Marnier and butter in this dish make it so decadent. Served along side Harvest Nut Loaf this is just perfection. Again, this photo was a family shot from last year’s Thanksgiving. I will take a more elegant one for mamaguru this year.
1 package of fresh sage leaves
1 c dried apricots
1 c Grand Marnier
about 1 stick butter
2 leeks, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
1/2 c all fruit apricot preserves
3 T chopped fresh parsley
6 c good quality sourdough bread cubes (cut and leave out overnight to dry)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
about 3-4 c vegetable stock
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter baking dish.
2. Heat Grand Marnier in a small sauce pan until simmering. Turn off heat and add apricots. Allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes to plump. Reserve liqueur.
3. Meanwhile, make the crispy sage leaves. Divide your sage in two and use half for this garnish. Chop the other half and set aside. Heat a few T of olive oil over a medium high flame. Once hot, add sage leaves. Keep a watchful eye. When sage begins to stiffen, carefully turn leaf and cook on the other side. Try not to brown, but aim for a crisp texture. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel or kitchen cloth to drain. Immediately sprinkle with fine sea salt. Set aside. (This is my favorite treat and I make obscene amounts for munching.) Reserve oil.
4. Add a few tablespoons of butter to the sage oil. Once melted, add leeks and a bit of sea salt. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add celery and another pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 3 more minutes, until celery is also soft. Taste seasoning and add some black pepper.
5. Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add vegetables and herbs and re-hydrated apricots. Toss. Add eggs and stir. Now add as much stock as needed to completely moisten bread. Season again with sea salt and black pepper. Pour into prepared dish and cover. Bake for 30 minutes.
6. Add apricot preserves and 1/2 a stick of butter to the leftover Grand Marnier. Melt over a medium low flame, stirring occasionally.
7. After 30 minutes, remove cover. Drizzle apricot glaze over stuffing and bake uncovered for about 15 more minutes, until bread begins to brown. Just before serving garnish with crispy sage leaves. Enjoy.