Who can resist crisp bacon, sautéed apples and the slightly blackened edges of caramelized onions? With the addition of French chestnuts and savory herbs, this is the perfect combination for stuffing. Children, especially those (like mine!) who don't like mushrooms, really gobble this up. This stuffing pairs deliciously with the Butter-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Glaze.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a deep, 9" x 13" baking pan with the butter. Place the bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. In a 10" sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain and add to bread in the bowl. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan, reserving the extra.
Add the onions to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and sauté, stirring constantly, until the onions turn golden and the edges caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bread in the bowl.
Return the pan to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the apples and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chestnuts, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and a few grinds of pepper, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to the bread cubes, and stir to combine. Add the beaten eggs and stock to the bowl and mix well. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan and bake uncovered until the top is lightly browned and crusty, about 1 hour.
If you have room in your oven, bake the stuffing while the turkey is roasting. Otherwise, bake it beforehand and reheat it once the turkey is out.
Adapted from Diane Morgan, The Thanksgiving Table (Chronicle Books, 2001).
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