Challah apple stuffing

I feel like it’s not even that controversial to state that stuffing is the best part of Thanksgiving.  (Some may go with pumpkin pie or sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but I am firmly in the stuffing camp.  Combined with cranberry sauce and turkey…or just totally by itself.)  And because we have this amazing phenomenon this year of Thanksgiving happening to fall on the first day of Hanukkah,  all sorts of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah recipes have popped up everywhere.  I knew I needed to try this one because challah is my favourite bread and I’d never actually tried making it before, so I figured this was a great way to make a new bread recipe and then work it into stuffing.  Challah and apple naturally go together and it’s quite a simple stuffing but it’s just elevated by the fact that the bread is better. (Much like making chocolate chip cookies with super high quality chocolate versus store brand – there really is a difference.)

Happy Thanksgiving to my dear American friends who I miss so much – I wish I could be celebrating with you and cooking for you, but you’ll have to accept my virtual recipes instead!

Challah apple stuffing (actually adapted from this amazing article on BuzzFeed where there are all kinds of Thanksgivingkah recipes)

Ingredients

1 to 2 loaves challah – I made my own and will post about that shortly but you can just go here to see the recipe that I got mine from. If you are making your own you will ideally need to make it a few days in advance to allow for it to get stale
100 grams butter (original recipe called for twice this much which I thought was appalling – and honestly I could probably cut this in half again but I figured I may as well be a bit indulgent)
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
8 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
3-5 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

Cut challah into 1-inch cubes and let cubes sit out in a bowl or on a baking tray, uncovered, for at least six hours to make them stale. If you are totally last minute you can toast the cubes of bread in a warm oven for a while.  But it’s best if you’ve let them sit out overnight.  If it’s not stale it will just be too mushy when you mix it up with all the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.  In a medium to large pot, melt the butter, and then add onions and celery.  Add a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the apples and herbs and cook for about 5 minutes more.

In a large bowl, combine challah cubes, cooked vegetables in butter, and broth. Mix until the bread is saturated with liquid, and everything is evenly mixed. Press stuffing into a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, raise your oven to 220 C / 450 F, and cook stuffing uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.  Let it cool for a bit before serving.  Accompany with homemade cranberry sauce if at all possible.  But honestly this stuff is great straight from the bowl.  At midnight.

IMG_6476Cubes of bread getting nice and stale

IMG_6500Chopped up celery and onion

IMG_6503Softening the celery and onion with some butter in a pot

IMG_6504Adding the lovely apples

IMG_6505Mixing it all together in a massive bowl and adding broth

IMG_6517Getting gloriously browned in the oven

Because I made the bread myself there was a fair amount of effort in this stuffing, but if you didn’t make the bread it’s a pretty simple process with only a few steps.  Adding the apples is amazing and honestly challah is the best kind of bread so putting it in a stuffing is a sure-fire win.  This is without a doubt one of my favourite stuffings I’ve ever made, and I would definitely make it again – potentially adding in dry cranberries, reducing the butter a bit, and perhaps adding some leeks.  Variations on stuffing are endless so have fun with it and enjoy what I think is one of the most delightful presentations of carbs in the world today!

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