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Author Notes: This recipe was born from a hardy, leftover loaf of Jim Lahey’s Apple Bread. I have included the recipe for the apple bread here (you can also find it in his new book, My Bread, W.W. Norton and Company 2009). The bread utilizes his revolutionary “no knead” approach, so there is no special equipment or arm-busting kneading involved. If the holidays have snuck up on you leaving no time for the ample rising time that this bread calls for, you can substitute a good-quality baguette or any other crusty loaf that is hanging around. Of course, it’s the subtle apple flavor that makes this recipe so great, so I recommend giving the bread baking a go. The apple also melds with the delicate flavors of celery root and sunchokes, which I’ve seen all over the farmer’s markets lately. If you can’t find the celery root and sunchokes, use celery and its leaves instead. —Clay Spoon
For the Stuffing
- 3 ciopollini onions, or one medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery root, peeled and coarsely chopped, with several leaves, chopped (or 2 ribs of celery including any leaves, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup sunchoke, peeled and chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup turkey or low sodium chicken stock
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper
- 1 loaf Jim Lahey’s Apple Bread (recipe follows), cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5 cups – you may not need the whole loaf)
For the Apple Bread
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch cubes
- 3/4 cup dried apple slices, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
- 1 cup fresh apple cider
- Special Equipment: A large, 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet (any skillet is fine, but the cast-iron gives a great flavor)
- First check that the bread cubes are very dry. Since the apple bread is moist, you may need to dry them out in the oven. Put the oven on low, spread the cubes on a baking sheet, and toast until dry.
- After the bread cubes are dried, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the oil together in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat (I use a 12 inch Lodge cast-iron skillet). Add the onions, celery root, and fennel seeds and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. If the vegetables begin to burn, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the sunchokes, and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of salt, and 4 grinds of a pepper mill, but this will depend on your tastes and the saltiness of your stock).
- While the vegetables cook, transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl. Place the stock in a small pot and heat until just warmed. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg, then pour over the bread.
- When the vegetables are done, take them off the heat and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Toss in with the bread mixture, combining until all of the ingredients are moistened with the stock mixture. Wipe out any burned bits from the skillet, and transfer everything back in. Dot the top with the remaining butter, and cover the skillet with foil. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden. I serve it right out of the skillet.
- For the Apple Bread : This recipe is adapted from Jim Lahey’s Apple Bread, published in My Bread. I have tweaked the amounts of flour, salt, and yeast to get the optimum loaf.
- Special Equipment A large casserole dish (about 5 quarts) with a lid
- First, stir together the flours, all of the apples, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. A big Pyrex measuring cup is great for this.
- Pour in the apple cider or juice, and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds. You can do this with your hand. The dough will not be perfectly uniform, but don’t worry as long as it is well mixed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature until more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours. The long fermentation is what makes this bread so flavorful. If your kitchen is cold, it may need even longer.
- When the rise is finished, spread a good amount of flour on a work surface and scrape the dough out in one piece. The dough will spread; with floured hands, nudge the blob into a round form.
- Gently transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 1 to 2 more hours or until almost doubles. It is ready when it no longer springs back when poked.
- Half an hour before the second rise is up, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large casserole dish with a lid in the oven.
- Remove the casserole from the oven using potholders, and carefully invert the dough into the pot. Cover, and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. Check the bread – depending on your oven, you can now remove the lid and allow to brown for a little longer until golden brown on top. Check frequently as the apples may burn.
- Carefully flip the bread out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Thanksgiving Stuffing
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