Bacon Stuffing, Pan-Fried

Holidays may come and go but sometimes the food remains for days...along with those additional pounds. This Thanksgiving, I made a Bacon Stuffing for a dinner party co-hosted among friends, a variation from a recipe I introduced last year. The stuffing was a hit, the bacon a favorite, but of course in wandering my own leftover woes, I had a decision to make: toss, re-heat, or fry. Of course I explored the latter and I wanted to share it as an alternative to serving stuffing the traditional way.

16 Servings
Prep Time: 35 Minutes

3 8oz French Bread Loaves, Cubed to 1" (~20 cups)
1 Onion, Yellow, Diced
6 Celery Stalks, Chopped
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
16oz Bacon, Uncooked
3 Cups Chicken Broth
3 Eggs, Beaten

As I said in the Chorizo Dressing RecipeI have a tendency to separate and prepare some of the ingredients the day before to facilitate the holiday cooking: chop the veggies, cook the bacon, make the broth, toast the bread cubes and it's all ready to go. The process actually doesn't take too long when simultaneously done.

To Bake: Place cubed bread in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a large skillet with EVOO (or bacon grease, for that smoky bacon flavor) and saute the celery and onion until softened and set aside. Cook the bacon according to package instructions and chop into smaller pieces. Place all cooked ingredients into the large mixing bowl. Whisk broth and beaten eggs together. Pour liquid slowly over stuffing and toss until evenly distributed. Place into a greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes covered with foil and an additional 15 minutes uncovered until golden and crisp.

To Fry: Here's the fun part for those wanting something a bit different: At the 40 minute mark, remove the stuffing from the oven and set aside to cool. Roll the stuffing into little balls and before guests arrive, toss some EVOO in a pan and brown on all sides. Keep in the oven uncovered at a low temperature to remain warm before serving (if not eating immediately). The fry brings home the bacon in ways that have to be tasted to be understood, but it is well worth the variation!

So it isn't too complicated and may just be that delicious alternative to 'just' a Bacon Stuffing (though the stuffing was pretty good too)!

Nutrition Info: (1 Baked Serving)*
Calories 176, Total Fat: 5.5g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 44.7mg, Sodium: 509.1mg, Carb: 23g, Fiber: 1.3g, Sugars: 1.8g, Protein: 8g 

*When pan-frying, use only enough EVOO to thinly coat the bottom of a skillet. Factor in how much used to the nutritional value of this dish.