Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jalapeno Cheese Bread Stuffing with Apples and Shallots

I made this on Thanksgiving confident it would trump my sister's famous sausage cornbread stuffing. It didn't. It's not that it wasn't good - it was just invited to the wrong party. My sis-in-law hit it on the head when she said it would go great with beef tenderloin or prime rib. No truer words have ever been spoken. If you had seen her ensemble that night you would know she knows what she's talking about!

**Make ahead tip: You can make the apple/bacon/shallot mixture the night before and keep in the fridge in a ziploc or tupperware container. The day of, just toast the bread cubes and toss with the already prepared mixture then add in the chicken stock, white wine, Parmesan, cheddar, and beaten eggs (and salt/pepper if needed.) Then just bake off as directed below.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread Stuffing with Apples and Shallots

Dash of olive oil
8 oz Sunday cut bacon (or whatever type you prefer), snipped with kitchen shears into little strips
1 large shallot (about 1/3 cup) finely chopped
2 medium pink lady (or any other sweet/tart apple), cut into smallish cubes
1 medium jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed unless you like it HOT), minced (or 2 jalapenos if you are so inclined)
Sea salt or kosher salt for seasoning
Good pinch fresh ground black pepper
Good pinch fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 cup apple brandy (Calvados or regular apple jack)
1/2 teaspoon dried English mustard (such as Coleman's)
1/2 lb (half of a 1 lb loaf) of Jalapeno cheese bread, cut into 1 inch cubes and toasted in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes just until dried out and 'toasty'
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock, plus extra
2 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons (freshly) grated Parmesan
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch salt, optional

Add the olive oil to a medium/large rimmed nonstick pan and bring over medium/high heat. Add in the bacon and cook (reduce heat if it begins to brown/pop and spit too quickly) until crisp - about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the bacon to a holding plate. If you need extra fat for the bottom of the pan to cook the shallots, add another dash or two of olive oil then add the chopped shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until softened - about 5 minutes. Add in the apple and jalapeno and cook another 3-4 minutes, just until the apple begins to lose its rigid shape. Add over a dash of fresh grated nutmeg then raise the heat to high and add the apple brandy. Let come to a boil and reduce by about half - should only take a couple minutes. Kill the heat and stir in the dry mustard (you can sub a 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard if you don't have Coleman's. No biggie.) Add the reserved bacon back in and mix again.

At this point you can either let the mixture cool down and chill it in the refrigerator (if making the night before) or go on with the rest of the steps.

Spray a 9x9 Pyrex or baking dish with nonstick spray, or butter it if you're a purist in such areas. Set aside and preheat the oven to 375.

To the cooled apple/shallot mixture, gently add and toss in the toasted bread cubes. Stir in the chicken stock, white wine, Parmesan, cheddar, eggs until just combined. Here is where you need to use your gut. The mixture should appear slightly more wet than dry. I don't know how else to say it. If you think it's a little dry, add in more chicken stock. This is also a matter of personal preference - some people like their stuffing on the dry side; others vice versa. Follow your instincts. The only hard fast rule is that stuffing shouldn't go into the oven looking DRY. It will only get drier and before you know it you'll be cutting into a stuffing brownie. But maybe that's not a bad thing I don't know. Anyway, once it's to your liking, decide if you need another dash or pepper or salt (if you've added in quite a bit more stock this is doubtful) and pour the stuffing into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the edges are just a bit golden and the whole thing looks 'set.' You'll know it when you see it, trust me.


Angie's Recipes said...

Beef tenderloin or prime rib would go perfectly with anything. ;-)) I am a big fan of cheese bread stuffing...this looks delish and comforting to me.

Brownieville Girl said...

This looks fantastic ... right down my street.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Holy cow this sounds amazing!! Pink lady apples, well they're the BEST apple ever, so anything that has them in it has to be divine :) LOVE this recipe, I want some now. Bookmarking for my future eating enjoyment :)

Jenn said...

Ok, I'm sold...though that could have something to do with the jalapenos!!

Diana's Cocina said...

Wow, I'm liking this way too much!!