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Stuff it with panchetta, leeks

November 14, 2013
Stuffing is one of my favorite dishes to prepare during the cooler time of year. Pairing different breads with veggies and meat all baked together like a bread souffle. Finding myself with leftover bread, panchetta and a bundle of fresh leeks, I decided it was time for the season’s first stuffing.

Stuffing with Panchetta and Leeks

10 to 12 cups cubed bread or rolls, left out to become stale

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups chopped celery

1 bunch (3) leeks, halved and thinly sliced (white and light green parts)

1/4 lb. thinly sliced panchetta, chopped

3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 eggs

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup half and half

1 heaping Tbl. chopped fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Place stale bread in a large bowl and set aside. Heat butter along with olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add celery and cook and stir for 5 minutes or so. Season celery with a bit of salt and pepper. Add leeks and cook and stir for another 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to bread bowl. Return skillet to heat and add panchetta and garlic. Cook and stir just until panchetta begins to crisp. Add panchetta garlic mixture to bread bowl and toss well. Season lightly with salt and pepper while tossing. In a medium bowl whisk eggs together with chicken broth and half and half. Pour mixture over bread, toss and stir until well combined.

The dressing should seem just a bit wet. Stir in fresh rosemary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn stuffing into a three-quart greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or longer, depending on how deep the dish is. The top of the stuffing should be golden brown.

Also, I stuffed pork chops with my (uncooked) stuffing. Brush the chops with olive oil then season with salt and pepper before stuffing. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or more, depending on the size of the chop. Pour some white wine and apple juice into the bake dish to keep the chops moist and flavorful.

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