Yes Pink Pearl apples are really pink! No 'burdock' is not a character from an Agatha Christie mystery but a root tasting of thistle. Yes 'savory' refers to the aromatic herb that pairs excellent with poultry. And 'sage' is sage.
I think this recipe could be called: The Lost Stuffing due to its somewhat obscure yet once popular ingredients. At Guy Savoy we had a dish called des légumes oubliés, meaning 'forgotten vegetables' consisting of salsify, crosnes and...well....I forget what else...hmmmmm....
I'm a stuffing person. I normally eat half of it raw (egg yolk and everything) before I even get it in the oven. Other people pass out on the couch because they've eaten too much turkey on Thanksgiving day, I pass out because the bread is expanding in my stomach with every sip of Champagne.
I use a mixture of bread crumbs: cornbread, sourdough, and whatever artisanal bread I have on hand. Why choose between cornbread or white bread? I know there are purists who would go to war over this notion. I say let there be peace in the kitchen. Mix them, it only adds flavor. I also add a whole stick of melted butter, grated fresh Asiago cheese, and two eggs – it makes for a richer stuffing.
I moisten the stuffing with turkey stock simmered with giblets. THIS IS WHAT MAKES THE DISH! If you do not have time to make turkey stock (and Michael Ruhlman has an excellent turkey stock post) then check out Savory Choice liquid turkey broth concentrate sold in Whole Foods and other specialty shops.
Pink Pearl Apple Stuffing with Burdock, Savory, & Sage
makes 7 cups
3/4 pound large bread crumbs mixed (sourdough, corn bread, Italian bread, wheat, rye)
1 stick salted butter, melted
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 leeks, light green and white part only, chopped
4 pink pearl apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 12"-inch burdock root well scrubbed quartered & chopped. Remove earth with scrub brush until white, do not peel because flavor is mostly in the outer flesh and soak in cold acidulated water with lemon juice until ready to cook.
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated finely (as you like it)
3 tablespoons savory (dried)
1 bunch sage, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 cups turkey stock (enough to moisten stuffing)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350˚F
In a large non-stick sauté pan melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Sweat onion, leeks, celery, burdock, and apples until onions are translucent. In a large bowl mix onion mixture with breadcrumbs. Add herbs and Asiago cheese. Toss lightly.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and pour over mixture tossing lightly. Pour turkey stock little by little over stuffing until bread crumbs are thoroughly moist but not overly soggy. If the mixture is too wet it will form one mass. Lightly fold in beaten egg yolks until incorporated.
In a buttered shallow baking dish bake stuffing uncovered until brown and crusty on top and hot in the middle. About 30 to 40 minutes.