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Apple, Shallot and Herb Dressing

Apple, Shallot and Herb Dressing
Whether to call the starch dish dressing or stuffing is a perennial debate at Thanksgiving tables. The term stuffing is usually used when it is cooked inside the turkey, while dressing is typically cooked in a baking dish. But the name also varies depending on what part of the United States you are from. People who hail from the East and South are more likely to call it dressing. Whatever term you use, the dish is a favorite on Thanksgiving menus from coast to coast.

Ingredients:

  • 1-lb. loaf French bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 10 shallots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick
      slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Fuji or McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut
      into 1/4-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3 to 4 cups milk

Directions:

Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and let dry overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the fennel, celery root, walnuts and apples and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the bread and the shallot mixture. Add the coriander, thyme, sage, raisins and the 3 cups milk and stir gently to mix. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the milk is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If the dressing seems dry, add more milk as needed. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until browned and crispy, about 1 hour. Serves 10 to 12.

Note: If desired, you can pack the dressing loosely in the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Secure the neck flap with kitchen string or pin it to the back with toothpicks or trussing pins. Tying the legs together will help hold the stuffing in the body cavity. For turkeys weighing 16 lb. or less, add 30 minutes to the total roasting time. For turkeys weighing more than 16 lb., add 1 hour to the total roasting time.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.