Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hearty Whole Grain Stuffing/Dressing

Some people call it stuffing, some people call it dressing. I call it yummy, especially when loaded with gravy! This dressing is made with the heartiest whole grain bread you can find, and what I call "real" corn bread made from simple ingredients: corn meal, water, eggs, honey, touch of vegetable oil. From these two seemingly dry and hostile bread sources comes a wonderful dressing that is loaded with contrasting nutty, sweet, spicy flavors and fiber and heart-healthy whole grains. Can't beat that during the holidays!

Hearty Whole Grain Stuffing/Dressing

1 loaf of all natural hearty whole grain or multi-grain bread
1 loaf of cornbread
2 cups of chicken stock, water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dried figs, sliced and reconstituted in 1 cup of hot water
3 apples diced (peeling is optional but you lose some nutritiants when you peel them)
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
1 tsp. all spice (or more to taste)
1 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
Spiced Nuts (1/2 cup pecans or almonds, sliced or pieces, toasted with garam masala, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt)

In a large bowl, break up the breads (or cut into 1-2" cubes), season with salt and pepper and add onion, thyme and cayenne pepper.

In a separate medium sized bowl, combine figs, appples, cinnamon and all spice. Add the apple mixture to the bread mixture and gently stir ingredients together because you don't want to break up the bread too much.

Add stock or water until the bread is thoroughly moistened. There shouldn't really be excess liquid that the bread hasn't absorbed.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Check about 10 minutes in to see if you need to add more liquid. The center of the dressing should be moist but not gooey when done. Top with toasted Spiced Nuts and serve.

You can add butter to the dressing as well for added richness.

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