Challah and apricot stuffing

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 loaf challah bread - cubed
  • 1 cup dried apricots - sliced into thin slices
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon dried or fresh sage
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried or fresh thyme
  • 1 white onion - medium dice
  • 1 head celery - medium dice
  • 2-3 cups canned chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions, celery and apricots until soft. Add herbs and sauté 2 more minutes. Add bread and stir to coat evenly.

Add warm stock in batches until stuffing becomes moist without being too wet. Continue stirring and add pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure liquid is evenly absorbed into the bread. If mixture is too moist, add bread; if mixture is too dry, add stock.

The key to this recipe is to not get caught up with exact measurements, but rather to adjust according to texture and taste. And most importantly - have fun!

Seven-vegetable Couscous with Chunky Onion Harissa

For the couscous:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), minced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned broth
1 cup raisins
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash

1 large yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch (generous) of cayenne pepper
1 cup diced seeded plum tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) couscous

Lemon wedges

For the harissa:
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
6 green onions, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced

To make the couscous:
Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over low heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cover and cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add stock and next 8 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring mixture to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, peas, cilantro, then couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Fluff couscous with fork. Transfer to large platter. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve, passing Chunky Onion Harissa separately.

To make the harissa
Combine tomato paste, crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in vinegar. Mix in onions and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Stir harissa well before using.)

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