– How about a stellar savory Thanksgiving stuffing recipe? –
I’m so excited that it’s that time of year again, where I get to make my favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. (To go along with my spiced cranberry sauce jam… Um, HELLO!) For most children, their favorite holiday is Halloween or Christmas – but I was the weird kid that loved Thanksgiving. As soon as people started setting out pumpkins and bowls of candy, I looked forward to the end of November, visions of turkey legs and sweet potato pie spinning a savory web in my head. How could I not love Thanksgiving? It lacks the drama of Christmas and the sugar hangover of Halloween. Besides the stress of screwing up the turkey, Thanksgiving is pure and simple in its scope: be grateful for what you’ve got… and eat until you’re stuffed.
Stuffing is by far my most coveted Thanksgiving dish. Every year my cousin Lizzy and I would wolf down spoonful after heaping spoonful of my grandma’s stuffing, filling up to the point that we barely had room for pie. I remember that stuffing so fondly that I still get hungry when I think about it, so you can imagine my heartbreak when I learned, years later, that my grandma’s famous stuffing was actually Stovetop, a prefab grocery store brand. As one who eschews processed and prepared foods, I set about recreating a stuffing recipe that I could make from scratch, one that would make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. And since I’ve got a wicked sweet tooth, I wanted to take full advantage of the bounty of sweet autumn fruit that’s available this time of year.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe
This recipe can easily be converted for vegan folks by using veggie stock, or for those following a gluten-free diet by using an appropriate loaf of bread. Gluten-free folks are in luck, because for stuffing, heavier breads work better than lighter varieties since they hold their own against an onslaught of soaking and stirring. So if you’ve got a loaf of adobe-like tapioca bread that’s been collecting dust in your cupboard, this is the perfect use for it!
- 1 loaf of dense, heavy bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (should yield about 5 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium-sized sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- One 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and diced
- 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped finely
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups stock (turkey, chicken, or vegetable)
- 4 fuyu persimmons, chopped coarsely
- 2 sweet red apples, chopped into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
- Spread bread cubes evenly on a large cookie sheet. Toast until until the bread cubes have browned gently, about 20 minutes, using a spatula to flip the cubes halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Raise oven heat to 375°F (190°C).
- Heat a large skillet over medium flame. Add pecans and toast for 4 minutes, agitating every 30 seconds to allow for even toasting and to prevent burning. Pecans are done when they have turned a darker shade of brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, sage and rosemary, stirring constantly for 30 seconds, then add celery, sauteing for another 2 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper and bread cubes and mix well. Drizzle in stock and remaining olive oil, mixing gently until bread cubes are coated. Remove from heat and allow to soak for 5 minutes, mixing every few minutes to allow for even absorption.
- Without smashing the bread cubes, gently fold in persimmons, apples and toasted pecans. Season to taste with a bit more salt and pepper, then pour the whole thing into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.