Think of this as Thanksgiving stuffing-lite.
Oh sure, it still has half a stick of butter in it.
But there’s no sausage in it. Nor any milk, cream or eggs. It gets moistened with chicken broth instead.
It also gets crunch from a profusion of pistachio nuts. And it gets a grown-up touch with dried figs that have been macerated in sweet white wine overnight. But don’t worry, they don’t come out tasting overly boozy. The alcohol tempers the fruit’s sweetness and adds a rounded depth. If you don’t have the Mucscat or Essensia called for in the recipe, you can improvise. I actually ended up using Canadian icewine I happened to have on hand.
Thanksgiving is all about over abundance and over eating. But if you’re looking for a stuffing, in which you can enjoy seconds without feeling weighed down, this one’s for you.
Fig and Pistachio Stuffing
5 ounces dried figs, trimmed, quartered (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup sweet white wine (such as Muscat or Essensia)
8 cups 1-inch cubes country-style white bread (about 12 ounces)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios, chopped
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
Place figs and wine in small bowl. Cover and let soak overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bread cubes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and place in oven until dry, about 15 minutes. Cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Butter an 11-by-7-by2-inch baking dish. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook vegetables until soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add figs with soaking liquid, bread cubes, pistachios, and broth to vegetables; toss stuffing. Transfer to prepared baking dish. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake stuffing, covered, 45 minutes. Uncover and bake stuffing until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
From Molly Stevens as published in Bon Appetit, February 2007
Another Recipe Using Dried Figs: Fig Cookies
Another Recipe Using Pistachios: Sicilian Pistachio Bars
And Another: Pistachio and Pomegranate Meatballs
Coming Friday: A Trip To The Pistachio Harvest