Fig-and-Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel


I know, I know, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and who needs stuffing.  It’s like the Christmas cookie recipe the day after Christmas.  Useless.  However, since I use my own food blog as a recipe book (I don’t have a little binder with secret/favorite recipes), I have a couple stuffing recipes I have to catalog for next year.  This is one of them.

Food & Wine Magazine touted this as the quintessential stuffing to pair with Pinot Noir so of course I had to make it.  It was very well received and requested again next year.  It definitely deviates from traditional stuffing but I believe every Thanksgiving table should have old stand-bys and new fangled recipes.  I also believe there should be at least two kinds of stuffing.

This recipe was excellent.  I loved the use of fresh fennel as well as fennel seeds and the dried figs.  Slightly sweet and fragrant from the herbs, this was a definite treat to have at the table.

Since a lot of folks also serve turkey for Christmas, maybe this stuffing will grace your holiday table.

Before making the stuffing, you have to stale the bread at least a day ahead.  You want to dry up the starch cells so they refill with flavorful liquids.  Tear or cube bread into smaller pieces before staling.  You can also do this in the oven to speed up the process (350 degrees for 15 minutes).

Spread the almonds on another baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned.  Let the almonds cool, then lightly crush them. 

Transfer the bread and almonds to a large bowl and add the figs, sage and parsley.

In a large skillet, melt 6 Tablespoons of butter (I used bacon grease).  Add the onion, celery, carrots, chopped fennel bulb, garlic and fennel seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 7-8 minutes.  Let cool.

Scrape the vegetables into the bread mixture in the bowl.  Stir in stock or broth until fully incorporated.  This is where I taste the mixture (before I add the eggs) and season it to my liking with salt and pepper.  Once I’m happy with the flavor I add the eggs and mix thoroughly. 

Place the mixture into a generously buttered 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, the top should be lightly browned.

Serve hot.

Fig-and-Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel
Adapted from Food & Wine

One 12-ounce loaf peasant bread, cut into 1″ cubes
(I baked mine but store-bought is fine)
12 ounces dried Black Mission Figs (2 cups), stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped sage
2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 Tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
(I used bacon grease for frying, butter for greasing)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 large fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely chopped
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (if your mixture seems dry you can always add more)
Salt and pepper to taste

Before making stuffing, you have to stale the bread at least a day ahead.  You want to dry up the starch cells so they refill with flavorful liquids.  Tear or cube bread into smaller pieces before staling.  You can also do this in the oven to speed up the process (350 degrees for 15 minutes).

Spread the almonds on another baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned.  Let the almonds cool, then lightly crush them.  Transfer the bread and almonds to a large bowl and add the figs, sage and parsley.

In a large skillet, melt 6 Tablespoons of butter (I used bacon grease).  Add the onion, celery, carrots, chopped fennel bulb, garlic and fennel seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 7-8 minutes.  Let cool.

Scrape the vegetables into the bread mixture in the bowl.  Stir in stock or broth until fully incorporated.  This is where I taste the mixture (before I add the eggs) and season it to my liking with salt and pepper.  Once I’m happy with the flavor I add the eggs and mix thoroughly. 

Place the mixture into a generously buttered 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, the top should be lightly browned.  Serve hot.

Make Ahead:  The baked stuffing can be covered with foil and refrigerated overnight.  Reheat in the oven before serving.

One Year Ago: So Much To Be Thankful For…

Post a Comment

26 Comments

  1. Definitely not useless! What if people want to make stuffing for Christmas? Or just because it’s so yummy? And this one looks **yummy** :) I also love that I’m not the only one who looks up recipes on her own blog–sometimes it’s faster for me than finding where I have it written down :)

    Reply
  2. nina 2

    I don’t see why this cannot work with a big ole cornish hen for Christmas….yum!!!

    Reply
  3. wow… look at how beautiful this looks uncooked…

    and pairing with the wine is a great touch (the philistines around my T-day table would never notice).

    And I started yesterday pondering my Christmas menu so keep these coming

    Reply
  4. Kate 4

    I think I am in love.

    With stuffing.

    Reply
  5. Trisha 5

    While I am almost certain that this stuffing recipe won’t become a family favorite (I hate fennel!), I am very, very thankful for you and your blog. I made the upside down apple pie you showed on your blog and it was tremendous!

    Reply
  6. Mmm! Stuffing isn’t my favorite part of the meal, I like to save my carbs for pie! But I do like to have just a little. We made a different one this year with bacon, jalapenos and chili powder with both bread and cornbread. It was pretty good (not quite spicy enough, we’d go for more next time). But it is fun to try different ones!

    Hope you had a wonderful day!

    Reply
  7. Barbie with a T 7

    This one looks delicious. However, I got so many raves regarding my stuffing this Thanksgiving, everyone requested it again at Christmas, and I was told “Don’t change anything”, so I have to make the same one again. Maybe I can make this one and stuff a chicken during next year. I am saving it! Definitely. The almond and figs combo intrigues me. I must try it later. AND of course, the Pinot Noir!

    Reply
  8. Lots of folks have another turkey with stuffing for Christmas, so I’d say you are right on time for planning purposes, Cathy. :-) I like almonds and figs for sure. I just made stuffing out of Tostitos, believe it or not, and everyone loved it. Easy and delish for all, but especially for those who gluten free. But additions and seasonings can be varied, so I might try the figs and almonds in that recipe.

    Thanks,
    Shirley

    Reply
  9. Log away! We still have Christmas coming up to make stuffing and other delicious sides.

    Reply
  10. June 10

    Turkey with all the trimmings is the menu of choice on most Canadian tables, so you’re right on schedule with this stuffing recipe. Looks wonderful! Hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving leftovers, as we are too.

    Reply
  11. dawn 11

    We always make turkey for Christmas so stuffing recipes are great! These looks so wonderfully Italian!

    Reply
  12. Thanks for highlighting this recipe. I subscribe to FW, and completely glossed over this recipe. It looks stunning!

    Reply
  13. Love the fennel and fig combination. I’m in the rut of making the same stuffing year after year. This would be a great addition to our holiday menu.

    Reply
  14. I love that you posted this after Thanksgiving! But like a lot of people have said, many make stuffing for Christmas dinner as well so this will be handy!

    Reply
  15. Liz C. 15

    Wow! That truly is gorgeous & looks delicious as well as healthy.

    The dressing we had (someone else made it) was overpowered by too much sage & I honestly couldn’t eat it. I ended up going to the store and buying their pre-made to have with our leftovers & gravy, lol.

    Reply
  16. Mary 16

    This sounds wonderful, Cathy. Do you have two ovens?

    Reply
  17. Velva 17

    Awesome! This stuffing recipe would have been perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas too. Please remind your foodie friends next year, that this is the stuffing to prepare!

    Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  18. Julie 18

    I’ve married into this weird family that doesn’t get into stuffing. Too bad for them, I’m making this for Christmas.

    Reply
  19. Laurie 19

    The stuffing looks great and I think stuffing is good all winter long in both turkeys and chicken. This would go nice with a pork roast too.

    I use my food blog as my cookbook too!

    Reply
  20. Lisa Sipple 20

    Fig and fennel in stuffing sound grand!

    Reply
  21. wow, figs and fennel sounds like a great combo!

    Reply
  22. grace 22

    figs + fennel + fiber = fantastic. great druffing (get it? that way, everyone’s happy!), cathy. :)

    Reply
  23. This stuffing sounds super delicious, I love the combo of figs, almonds and fennel!

    Reply
  24. We made this fig and fennel stuffing from Food & Wine for turkey day too.
    It was a very nice change to my sausage stuffing…….
    I always look up recipes on my own blog!

    Reply
  25. elra 25

    Fig and fennel, how delightful this two combination.

    Reply
  26. Laura 26

    I’ve never understood all the bloggers who always have recipes before the occasion–they must sit on the recipes for a year or do lots of testing! I completely get why this is on your site now. :) And it looks great–I love fruit in stuffing.

    Reply

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