Valley Fig Growers

Fig Pancetta Sweet Potato Dressing

Sweet and savory flavors mesh together beautifully in this dressing featuring shredded sweet potatoes, California figs, crisped pancetta, and fresh thyme. It'd be great alongside your Thanksgiving turkey, of course, but also with roast chicken, pork, lamb and beef - it really is the best way to prepare sweet potatoes. This Fig Pancetta Sweet Potato Dressing also works great as a do-ahead dis - you can prepare the dressing though step four in advance, then store it covered in the refrigerator. Take the casserole out of the fridge to return it to room temperature before proceeding.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

8 to 10 ounces diced pancetta (see note)

1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (6 to 8)

12 ounces orange-fleshed California sweet potatoes, coarsely shredded

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup stemmed, sliced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste

12 cups 3/4-inch diced or torn French or Italian bread, with crusts (from 12 to 16 ounces of bread)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 13 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a bowl or plate. Set aside to cool.

  3. Add the shallots to the pancetta fat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the sweetpotatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes are al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, figs, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside 5 minutes to plump the figs.

  4. Transfer the sweetpotato-fig mixture to a very large bowl. Add the bread and 3/4 of the pancetta, stirring gently to evenly moisten. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining pancetta on top. Dot the top with the butter and cover with foil.

  5. Bake until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned on top, 5 to 10 minutes.

Note: Look for pre-diced pancetta in the deli section of your supermarket. If you can’t find it, buy a hunk from the deli, then dice it at home.

Recipe and photo courtesy of California Sweetpotatoes