Country Bread Stuffing with Goat Cheese, Kale and Bacon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering baking dish
- 5 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large loaf day-old country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound double-smoked slab bacon, cut into small strips
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 medium stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 pound Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves torn or coarsely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 4 to 7 cups homemade chicken stock
- 8 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- About 1 tablespoon honey, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the bread cubes and saute until lightly golden brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking sheet. Heat 2 more tablespoons of the oil and repeat with the remaining bread.
Return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the bacon and cook until the bacon is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the butter to the pan with the rendered bacon fat over medium heat. Once melted, add the carrots, celery and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
Put the bread cubes in a large bowl with the cooled vegetable mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth and add to the bread. Add the stock, making sure the mixture is very, very wet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fold in the goat cheese, parsley, sage and reserved bacon. Transfer to the prepared pan and add the honey if using.
Bake until golden brown and crispy on top and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Remove and let rest 15 minutes before serving.