Crouton Stuffing with Mushrooms, Pears & Pancetta

Bagged croutons make an easy stuffing base.
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Crouton Stuffing with Mushrooms, Pears & Pancetta

Recipe by Renae E. Wilson

Start to Finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 16 oz. chopped pancetta
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 Bosc pears, cored and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • 4 packages (5 oz. each) plain or Parmesan-flavored croutons
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 oz.)
  • 3 cups chicken stock

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the pancetta; cook, stirring often, until crispy, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 3 tbsp. of the drippings in the skillet. 

2. Add 2 tbsp. butter to the drippings. When it melts, add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are almost tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 13 to 15 minutes. 

3. Add the pears, garlic, herbs, and pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the pears begin to soften, about 3 minutes more. Add the wine. Bring to a boil. Cook until the wine is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat; season. 

4. Place the remaining 2 tbsp. butter in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place the dish in the oven to melt the butter. 

5. In a large bowl, toss the croutons, 1/4 cup cheese, and the vegetables, pears, and pancetta. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Swirl the dish until coated with the butter. Add the crouton mixture. Pour the stock evenly on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with foil. Bake the stuffing for 25 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake until the top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Garnish the stuffing with more thyme and sage.