Chef Annie Pettry has time to make this beloved stuffing for her dad every year, as well as at her own home. Decca (now closed) used to close for five days over Christmas, something that is unheard of in today’s competitive restaurant landscape.
4 tablespoons butter
5 cups leeks (about 1 bunch), sliced in half moons
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups dried cherries
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups chicken stock, separated
2 cups walnut pieces
4 cups pumpernickel bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups honey whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup butter
2 cups diced celery
1 cup leek sofrito (recipe above)
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cups chives
3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Make leek sofrito: Melt butter over low heat in large sauté pan. Add leeks and salt and turn heat to low. Cook leeks slowly, stirring often, until soft, about 1 hour. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lime zest and juice. Set aside.
- Make the stuffing: In a large sauce pan, bring cherries, brandy, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup chicken stock to simmer. Remove from heat and cover.
- In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, toast walnuts until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add bread cubes to oven and toast, stirring often, until dry and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- Sauté celery in butter until soft. Add leek sofrito, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Once slightly cooled, stir in parsley, chives, and eggs. Once incorporated, add soaked cherries, along with liquid, and stir well to mix. Finally, add toasted bread crumbs and stir to combine. Add 1 cup of chicken stock between each addition until all stock is used and consistency of mixture is even throughout.
- Pour stuffing into buttered casserole dish, dot with cubes of butter, cover in foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake for 15 minutes more. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe ByAnnie Pettry of Decca in Louisville, Kentucky