My Recipe Box

Fennel & Escarole Stuffing with Pine Nuts


Yields 10 to 12 cups.

This stuffing is great sprinkled with a little Parmigiano-Reggiano just before baking.You can also cook this stuffing inside your turkey, as long as you're not brining the bird.

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups chopped fresh fennel 
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 medium head escarole, washed thoroughly and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 8 cups stale or lightly toasted 1/2-inch bread cubes, preferably from a chewy sourdough loaf
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups turkey stock or homemade or low-salt chicken broth
If cooking the stuffing inside a turkey, omit the turkey or chicken stock. Just before roasting, pack the stuffing loosely in the bird, leaving enough room to fit your whole extended hand into the bird's cavity (the stuffing may not all fit in the cavity). Cook the stuffing to 160º to 165ºF, checking with an instant-read thermometer. If the turkey is done before the stuffing is, take the bird out of the oven, spoon the stuffing into a casserole dish, and continue to bake it while the turkey rests.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, and salt. Cook, covered, until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the escarole, cover, and cook until the escarole is wilted. Add the wine and let it simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated, 2 or 3 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables with the bread cubes, pine nuts, and lemon zest. Season with pepper; toss to combine. The stuffing should just hold together when mounded on a spoon.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Pour 2 cups of stock over the stuffing. Toss the mixture occasionally for a few minutes, utnil the liquid is absorbed. The bread should be moist but not soggy.

Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Spread the stuffing in the dish, and cover tightly with foil. Bake it, covered, until heated through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. For a crunchy top, uncover it for the last 15 minutes of baking.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1/2 cup stuffing, Calories (kcal): 100, Fat (kcal): 5, Fat Calories (g): 45, Saturated Fat (g): 1, Protein (g): 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3, Carbohydrates (mg): 12, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 210, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Ben Fink

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