- 1-lb. loaf sweet batard, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 2 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, warmed
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a deep casserole or baking dish.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the butter. Add the onions and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the bread.
Melt the remaining 4 Tbs. butter in the pan and add the apples. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 3 Tbs. of the apple juice and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 4 minutes. Transfer the apples to the bowl with the bread.
Pour the remaining apple juice into the pan, set over medium heat and simmer until reduced by one-third. Pour the apple juice over the bread mixture. Add the pecans, thyme, sage, the 2 1/2 tsp. salt, the 1 tsp. pepper and 2 cups of the stock to the bowl and stir gently to mix. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed, about 5 minutes. If the dressing seems dry, add more stock as needed. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until browned and crispy, about 50 minutes. Serves 10 to 12.