Fruit Stuffing

At the recent Thanksgiving meal, I experimented with a few new recipes. Mike declared this the best dressing he had ever eaten. I was inordinately embarrassed, of course, but it is always nice to have one's culinary efforts receive due appreciation.

Since there is another holiday upcoming where many people will be stuffing themselves once again, I thought I would share this with all of you.

Fruit Stuffing
Makes about 3 qts.

4 tbsp. butter
1 med. yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 sticks celery, chopped fine
4 med. apples, washed and diced
3/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. dried cranberries (for a total of 1 c. dried fruit. Other ratios and fruits can be used, if desired)
2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. coarse grey sea salt
1/2 tsp. green peppercorns, cracked
3/4 loaf whole-grain or sprouted-grain bread, cubed
1 c. chicken or turkey stock

In a large cast-iron pan, saute onions, garlic, celery, and apples in butter until soft--about 5 minutes. Add dried fruit, spices, salt and pepper and stir-fry for one minute more. Turn off heat and mix in bread cubes and stock.

Place in lightly-buttered 3-qt. casserole and cover. Bake in 350F oven for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden and toasted. (I just popped mine in alongside my bird when it was almost done cooking.)