Italian Apple Stuffing

Makes about 3 quarts


Pancetta, fennel, and fresh oregano give this stuffing a decided taste of Italy. Apples and hard cider contribute tartness and freshness. For best results, use a firm, tart apple such as Winesap or Granny Smith. Whether you stuff this into a turkey or simply bake it in a dish, start it a day ahead to allow the bread to dry out slightly. And don't feel you have to serve this just with turkey. A spoonful on the plate with meat loaf, roast chicken, roast pork, or grilled fish would be most welcome.


12 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes
   (made from day-old sourdough, Italian,
   or French bread; about 1-1/4 pounds crustless
   bread from a 2-pound loaf)
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and
   diced; feathery tops reserved and chopped
1/2 pound pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 large celery stalks, diced
1 large red bell pepper,
   cored, seeded, and diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 medium crisp, tart apples (1-1/2 pounds),
   quartered, cored, peeled, and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup hard cider


1. Spread the bread cubes out on two shallow baking sheets. Leave at room temperature to dry overnight.

2. Chop enough of the reserved fennel tops to equal 1/2 cup and set aside (discard the remainder).

3. Cut the pancetta into strips about 3/4 inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Cook the pancetta in the olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 3 tablespoons of fat and discard the remainder; set the pan aside.

4. Finely chop the pancetta and set it aside. Return the reserved fat to the pan and set the pan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, fennel, garlic, and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and apples are crisp-tender about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped fennel tops, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Stuffing Tips

Thanksgiving Recipes


A Is For Apple
More than 200 Recipes for Eating,
Munching, and Cooking with America's Favorite Fruit
By Greg Patent and Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Broadway Books, June 1999
Trade Paperback, 288 pages, $15.00
ISBN: 0-7679-0203-3
Recipe Reprinted by permission.

Buy the Book!  

A Is For Apple



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