For the past several years, I’ve made this following stuffing recipe for our Thanksgiving turkey. It’s full of local, Pacific Northwest ingredients.
I use a gluten-free bread for ours, and it’s one of our family’s favorite dishes of the big meal! It makes a lot (fills a gallon bowl during preparation); usually plenty to stuff a turkey, plus a bit to bake in a casserole dish as leftovers.
Herbed Cider Pear Stuffing
• 2 Sourdough French Bread loaves/Baguettes (If you’re in Portland, OR, we love the loaves from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery, if not using homemade.)
• 1/2 – 3/4 lb. Maple or Applewood Smoked Bacon (nitrite free), diced into 1/2” pieces
• 2 cans (about 15 oz) drained Pearl Onions or about 1/2 lb frozen (thawed & drained)
• 5-6 ripe Bartlett Pears, chopped into 1/2” pieces
• 6 cloves minced Garlic
• 1/2 cup diced, fresh Parsley
• 2 Tbl. dried, powdered Sage
• 2 Tbl dried, powdered Thyme
• 2 Tbl. minced fresh Chives
• Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
• 2 Eggs, beaten
• approximately 1 quart unfiltered Apple (or Pear) Cider
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, cut into small cubes (about 4 “cubes” per tablespoon)
• 1/2 cup finely chopped Hazelnuts (filberts), optional
1. The day before preparing the stuffing, cut the sourdough bread into 1/2-1” sized cubes, and place in a large bowl (gallon size) overnight or at least 12 hours. Leave it sitting out, uncovered, to let it get dry and “stale.”
2. The next day, saute the bacon until cooked, but not crispy.
3. Mix in onions, pears, bacon, garlic, and herbs with the bread cubes. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust seasoning with additional herbs, as desired.
4. Stir in eggs and hazelnuts.
5. Pour apple cider over all, and stir in to moisten the bread. Add only as much as needed; don’t make it too soggy!
6. Mix in butter cubes throughout the stuffing (it will melt when baked), and stuff your turkey!
Variation: Use apples instead of pears, but saute them in some butter or the bacon fat first, to soften before adding to the stuffing. A few stalks of chopped organic celery (with leaves) is often a nice addition, too. Chicken stock may also be substituted for some of the apple cider, if desired.