From my story, “Mild Thanksgiving”
Serves 4 to 6
One Ciabatta bread (approximately 16 oz.) cut into ½” to 1” cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced pear (one pear, peeled, cored and diced)
1 cup dried figs, sliced (large chunks)
1 cup roasted chestnuts* (roasting directions below)
1 cup chicken broth (for best results do not use salt free broth)
½ cup milk
¼ cup melted butter or margarine
1 ½ tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Bells Seasoning (or mixed dried rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme)
[Roasted Chestnuts: Line a cookie sheet or half sheet pan with foil. Spread the chestnuts in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with approximately 1 teaspoon of salt. Roast a pre-heated 300˚F oven for 12 to 15 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes to make sure the chestnuts are not burning.)]
Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
Have ready: one 9” x 13” Pyrex glass or earthenware baking dish, greased.
Place the bread, figs, and chestnuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
In a large sauté pan, sauté the celery, onions, and pear in the olive oil over medium heat until thoroughly cooked, and the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown, approximately 15 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons of the salt.
Add the cooked celery, onions, and pear to the bread mixture, and toss thoroughly to combine.
Add the chicken broth, milk, and melted butter to the bread mixture, and toss to combine, making sure all of the bread is thoroughly moistened.
Add the Bells Seasoning, the remainder of the salt, and the pepper to the bread mixture, and toss thoroughly to distribute the seasoning.
Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crunchy on top.