It's that time of year when I start obsessing about what kind of stuffing to make for Thanksgiving and as most years I look for inspiration from Smitten Kitchen and the recipe below is based on one of hers with a few minor changes. I just had to add the pecans since I liked them so much in another stuffing I made and the extra shallot gives it just a bit more flavor. Happy cooking!
The day before making your stuffing put all the bread chunks on a tray and let them dry out for the day. When you are ready to make the stuffing preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread bread chunks on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, stirring occasionally about 15 minutes. If your pecans are not toasted yet you can do that at the same time on a separate baking sheet.
Generously butter a 9-inch square oven proof dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, shallot, thyme, salt and black pepper and cook until translucent. Add celery and cook for 2 more minutes. Add apple and sauté until just starting to soften 3 to 4 minutes more.
Place bread in a large mixing bowl and add content of pan to it. Stir in the herbs and pecans. At this point you can place it in the fridge overnight until you are ready to bake ti. Spoon the stuffing into prepared pan. Add 1/2 cup of stock, if mixture looks a little dry, pour remaining 1/2 cup broth over it. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown on top and no liquid appears if you insert a knife into the center. Serve immediately, or reheat as needed.