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- 9 cups bread cubes (12 slices bread)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 9 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped red onions
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 2 large Granny Smith or fuji apples, peeled (if desired), cored, and coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Small fresh sage leaves (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread bread cubes in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until cubes are dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
3. In an extra large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble bacon. Drain fat, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.
4. Add butter to skillet. Add onions, celery, and herbs; cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add apples and garlic; cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until apple is just softened. Transfer to an extra large bowl.
5. Add bread cubes, crumbled bacon, and pepper to vegetable mixture; toss gently to combine. Add broth and toss until moistened.
6. Spoon about 2/3 cup stuffing into each prepared muffin cup; press to pack tightly. If desired, top each cup with a fresh sage leaf. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until stuffing is hot and tops are light brown. Cool about 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pans; serve warm. Makes 12 servings.
- Prepare stuffing as above. Remove from muffin cups and transfer to large covered container; cover and chill up to 24 hours. To reheat, transfer stuffing servings to a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; cover with foil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.