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California Bread Stuffing

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Serves 12 to 14

Dried currants, almonds, and the surprising addition of mild, creamy goat cheese make this bread stuffing the perfect partner for the California Roast Turkey and Gravy.

  • 1 1-lb. loaf rustic white bread with crust, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (12 to 14 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the baking dish
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium celery heart, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 oz. pancetta, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth; more as needed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 10-1/2 oz. fresh goat cheese

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Mix the bread cubes, oil, and garlic in a very large bowl, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets; set the bowl aside. Bake, stirring, swapping positions, and rotating the pans halfway through, until just golden, about 12 minutes. Return the bread to the bowl. (The bread can be prepared to this point up to 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and store at room temperature.)

Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Melt 4 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 15 minutes. Add to the bread.

Return the skillet to medium heat and melt the remaining 2 Tbs. of butter. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until browned. Add to the stuffing along with the almonds, currants, parsley, thyme, rosemary, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to blend and then whisk in the broth, cream, and lemon zest. Pour the egg mixture over the stuffing and gently toss to combine. Let the stuffing sit until the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes, tossing again if necessary. Add up to 1/2 cup additional broth if the stuffing seems dry; the mixture should be moist but not soggy.

Transfer half the stuffing to the prepared dish and crumble the goat cheese evenly over the top. Top with the remaining stuffing. Bake until lightly browned and crisp on top, about 40 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 380; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 14; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 610; Cholesterol (mg): 70; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Outstanding stuffing! My family members loved it. Two people have asked for the recipe and want to have it again next year. We had a vegetarian attending so I used vegetable broth and no pancetta and it was still the best stuffing our family has ever eaten.

This stuffing is delicious! Moist and lovely on the Thanksgiving dinner table. The family ranted and raved throughout the dinner. Definitely a must for next year too!

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