To learn more, read "The Right Stuff(ing)" in our National edition.
Pistachio, Guanciale and Chicken Liver Stuffing
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
10 cups baguette, cut into 1-inch squares
1½ cups pistachios
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound guanciale, thinly sliced, then cut into matchsticks
1 Spanish onion, cut into a medium dice (1½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
2 pounds chicken livers, veins cut away
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup dry vermouth
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
3 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the cut bread on a sheet tray and cook until it dries out and turns slightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.
2. Place the pistachios on a separate tray and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant and start to turn golden brown. Once the pistachios are cooled, roughly chop them and set them aside.
3. Place a 3-quart saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan, then add in the guanciale and cook until the fat renders out and it starts to crisp. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook until the onions soften, about 10 minutes. Pour this mixture into a large bowl with the bread and set aside.
4. Place the same pan back on medium heat, being careful not to burn the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Season the livers with salt and black pepper. Once the oil begins to smoke, place the livers in the pan to sear. Cook for 1 minute per side then remove them to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
5. Add the shallots to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until they soften, then deglaze with the dry vermouth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits off the pan; cook until the vermouth is reduced by half. Add in the stock. Bring the liquid back to a boil on high heat, then turn it off.
6. Chop the cooled livers into large chunks and add them to the bowl with the vegetables and bread.
7. Pour the stock mixture over the bread, vegetables, liver and pistachios and mix it very well with a wooden spoon until all the bread is coated and the ingredients are mixed evenly. Let this sit for 3 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Mix the egg and pecorino into the stuffing mix and stir until well combined.
8. Pour the stuffing into an 5-quart ovenproof dish, no more than 3 inches deep. Cover the top with aluminum foil and place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue to cook another 30 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
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