Sweet and Savory Root Vegetable Stuffing
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, (2 of the tablespoons cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
- One 1-pound butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- Two 6-ounce Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Zest of 1 large lemon 8-ounce loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) goat cheese, coarsely crumbled, optional
Cook's Note: To clean leeks, slice lengthwise and run under water, making sure to get between the layers.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Grease a 15- by 12-inch piece of foil with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the carrots, parsnips, leeks, butternut squash, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining olive oil, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the thyme, allspice, apples and lemon zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes and eggs until coated. Add the cranberries and apple juice concentrate. Add the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining butter pieces on top. Pour the vegetable stock over the top and cover the baking dish with foil, buttered-side down. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is slightly crisp and brown in spots, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let the stuffing rest 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top if using, and serve.