Apple, Leek and Pumpernickel Stuffing
- 6 cups pumpernickel bread, cut into cubes
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 Gala apples, diced small
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- 2 fluid ounces butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake the bread cubes on a sheet pan until dried slightly, about 30 minutes. (Alternatively, leave bread out to dry at room temperature, 8 to 24 hours.)
- Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and celery, cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, giving a brief stir every three minutes. Add thyme, apples, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with bread, broth, parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Squeeze the bread so that it absorbs all of the broth.
- Transfer to an oiled casserole dish. Brush the top of the stuffing with butter and place a sheet of wax paper over the top, pushing it against the surface of the stuffing. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Place in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and wax paper and cook an additional 15 minutes to crisp up the top. Serve immediately.