|Dried Cranberry, Apricot and Fig Stuffing
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)
2 cups chopped celery (4-5 stalks)
1 pound Granny Smith apples (about 2 medium), peeled, cored, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup diced dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup diced stemmed dried figs
12 cups 1-inch cubes day-old ciabatta bread with crust (about 1 ¼ pounds)
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add apples and all herbs. Sauté until apples just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl, cover and chill.
Mix 1 cup stock and dried fruit in bowl. Let soak 1-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until bread is crusty but not hard – about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to large bowl to cool.
Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Stir vegetable mixture into bread. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend; whisk in stock and dried fruit mixture. Add egg mixture to stuffing, tossing to combine evenly and adding more stock by ¼ cupfuls if dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.
Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, 50-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.