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Midwestern Bread Stuffing

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Serves 12 to 14

This delicious bread stuffing is loaded with tasty morsels (ham, kale, dried cherries, parsnips), reflecting Midwest's agricultural bounty. Pair it with the Midwestern Roast Turkey and Gravy for a regional Thanksgiving feast.

  • 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
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled, cored (if woody), and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped kale
  • 3/4 lb. Black Forest (or other smoked) ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup halved dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tsp. chopped  fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth; more as needed

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 another 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the parsnips and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of stuffing. Melt the remaining Tbs. unsalted butter in the skillet and add 3 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped kale. Cook, stirring, until  wilted and tender, about 4 minutes; transfer to the stuffing along the ham, cherries, parsley, sage thyme, 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. 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 to the prepared dish. 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): 280; Fat (g): fat g 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4; Protein (g): protein g 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 34; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 630; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 55; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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