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Holiday Stuffing with Apples, Figs, Sausage, Bacon & Pecans

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Move over traditional, same old – same old, every year stuffing, because there’s a new girl in town! I vamped up my old recipe this year and my new Holiday Stuffing with Apples, Figs, Sausage, Bacon & Pecans was a smash hit!!

 

Honestly, I think it was the best stuffing I’ve ever made! (The hubs is STILL talking about it!)

The figs were the shining star, and went beautifully with the rest of the ingredients! And it’s all thanks to our wonderful neighbors!

A friend of hers has a fig tree and always gives her a bunch of them. And when she’s given a few bags of them, she always shares a bag with me!

I wasn’t sure what to do with them right off the cuff, so I froze them until I could plan something special. And the holidays were just that special opportunity to come up with something spectacular! And that I truly believe I did!

To go along with those amazing little figs, I decided to pair them with a spicy breakfast sausage and some lean, thick-cut, smokey bacon that I peppered and baked until nice and crispy in the oven!

 

 

 

 

I added the usual suspects of seasonings, celery and onions, and also a nice, sweet Honeycrisp Apple!

 

 

 

 

Even the colors looked like Thanksgiving!

Instead of buying dried bread cubes, I dried my own using Texas Toast bread! I use this for quite a lot of things that require regular ole bread, but sliced thicker.

It really works well for so many things!

 

 

 

 

You don’t want to tear the bread up into tiny little cubes, though. keep them in nice-sized chunks or they might turn into mush. You can do them in large chunks like this:

 

 

 

 

Or you can go a little bit smaller like the ones below. (*The ones above were made by tearing each slice into 8ths. And the ones below were torn into about 12 pieces per slice.)

I let them dry for 3 days in the open air on the dinette table on baking sheets, giving them a good toss twice a day to ensure that all sides dried out.


 

Lastly, I toasted them under the broiler, again turning them over once one side was toasted to toast the other side, too.

This also gives your stuffing extra flavor!!

 

 

Then just toss the bread with some pecans, pour your frying pan full of goodies, broth and beaten egg over the bread cubes, and add a little more salt and pepper to taste, and lightly fold just until all of the bread is moistened!

All there is to it!

*Don’t over-mix, or you really will end up with a mushy, soggy mess.

Then dump it all into a casserole dish that’s been sprayed, dot the top with a little butter, and bake!

 

 

You can also make this a day before if you’d like, and then bake on the day of the holiday.

Or, you can stuff this into your turkey and bake it that way, but just don’t stuff your turkey until the turkey is ready to be roasted.

 

 

It bakes up so beautifully golden, crispy on top (from removing the foil during the last 5 – 10 minutes), and soft and tender inside….pure heaven!

This dish alone will make your entire house smell like the holidays!!!

It was pure torture waiting for this incredibly amazing stuffing to get done, but well worth every minute of it!

 

 

 

 

Now that’s a plateful of happiness!

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t even eat half of it in one sitting! But it sure was delicious!!

 

 

 

My hubby raved and raved over it, and said that the figs are now a must-have, permanent addition to the holiday stuffing every year!

Sounds like a great idea to me, too!

I think you’re really going to love this new version of Holiday Stuffing with Apples, Figs, Sausage, Bacon & Pecans just as much as we did!

And though Thanksgiving has passed, this would be a fantastic dish to serve alongside my Restaurant-Style Prime Rib for the next holiday, special occasion, or even New Year’s Eve! So, no need to wait and dream about this until next year!

Hope you all enjoy! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

 

 

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Holiday Stuffing with Apples, Figs, Sausage, Bacon & Pecans

Holiday Stuffing with Apples, Figs, Sausage, Bacon & Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage, mild, sweet or hot
  • 4 - 6 strips quality lean thick-cut bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbl.) butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced into 1/2″ pieces or to preference
  • 1 large stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley, or a small palmful of fresh chopped if you have it
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed between your fingers and thumb to release flavor
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. dried ground rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. course ground black pepper
  • 1 apple such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, unpeeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz. fresh figs, quartered lengthwise, as you like (small ones can be halved)
  • 2 cups chicken broth, *may not need all of it
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (8 oz.) bag dry bread cubes, unseasoned or seasoned doesn’t seem to matter (*Or make your own using 12 slices of Texas Toast bread, torn, dried and toasted!)
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • more salt and pepper, 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. each (to taste)
  • 3 - 4 Tbl. more butter, cut into very small pieces (to dot top)

Instructions

  • *If making your own bread cubes from Texas Toast bread, tear up 12 slices, place onto baking sheets, let dry for 3 days (tossing each day), and then toast if needed. *See my blog for extra directions and photos.
  • In large deep frying pan, sauté sausage, breaking up as you go along, until done. Drain grease, remove sausage to a bowl, cover and set aside. Rinse out pan and wipe dry.
  • Bake peppered bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet in 375º F oven for 25 - 30 minutes until crispy, turning strips over during last 10 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, tear into bite sized pieces, about 1/2 - 1 inch wide.
  • In rinsed and dried frying pan, melt butter and add next 9 ingredients. Sauté until veggies are crisp-tender. Add apples, and sauté 2 - 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Fold in cooked sausage and bacon, and sliced figs. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Stir in beaten egg. (*DO NOT COOK EGG.)
  • In large bowl, add bread cubes and pecans and toss to combine. Pour pan ingredients over the bread cubes and fold several times to combine. (Add more salt and pepper to taste.) *DO NOT over mix, only fold until cubes are moistened. Add more (rest of) broth if dry.
  • Place evenly into sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish. Dot top with tiny pieces of butter evenly. Cover with lid or foil and refrigerate until needed or bake now.
  • If baking now, pop covered dish into preheated 350º F oven for 1 hour. *If a crispy top is desired, remove top or foil during last 5-10 minutes.
  • *Or you can stuff into your turkey JUST BEFORE turkey is to be baked. NEVER pre-stuff your turkey.

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