Holiday Dressing (California Dried Plum & Chestnut)
3 1/8 pounds multi-grain bread -- rustic multigrain bread
12 1/2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
3 1/8 cups onion -- diced
3 1/8 tablespoons fennel seed -- crushed
6 1/4 cups California Dried Plums -- pitted and chopped
4 1/8 cups chestnuts -- coarsely chopped and cooked*
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 1/2 cups turkey or fat-free low sodium chicken broth
6 1/4 each eggs – optional
Heat oven to 400°F. Cut crust from bread and discard. Cut bread into large pieces; pulse in food processor to coarse crumbs. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add celery, onions and fennel seed. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. In large bowl, combine bread crumbs, vegetables, dried plums, chestnuts, parsley, salt and pepper. Add broth and mix gently but thoroughly. (If using eggs, whisk with broth before adding to rest of ingredients.) Transfer to a shallow oven-proof baking dish; cover loosely with buttered sheet of foil, buttered side down. Bake 30 minutes; remove foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes more or until top is browned.
*Cooked chestnuts are available canned, bottled or vacuum-packed. Be sure to purchase unsweetened chestnuts.