The holiday season officially starts next week with Thanksgiving kicking it off here in the US. Thanksgiving also happens to be, I think, the most anticipated and biggest holiday for food inspiration, new and traditional cooking and baking, and of course, let’s not forget the eating.
I did not grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, obviously, because England doesn’t have that holiday. However, I believe that Thanksgiving is truly a foodie holiday. The whole day is centred around food, family and football, with a bit of thankfulness thrown in.
I really took to Thanksgiving! Now, sometimes when I feel like holding back a bit, I can’t. My children and my husband, are crazy about the food. It’s the one holiday they really look forward to for the particular food that’s served.
Last year we did a potluck with our friends and a 40 pound turkey, 30 side dishes and 12 desserts. We were very thankful and incredibly full. This year it’s the same group but I hope the turkey is smaller!
So, onto this recipe. As you know, I rarely do any kind of sponsored posts on my blogs. It’s not that I’m not open to them, it’s just that I’m very particular about product I endorse. It has to be all natural, preferably organic and even better if it’s Colorado local. I’m a big supporter of small farms and local businesses.
So imagine my excitement when I received an email from MM Local, a Colorado based, organic company that specialises in preserved and pickled fruits and vegetables, and fermented sauces and pickles. I knew about them from the farmers markets and had tried their jarred fruit.
What I love about MM Local, besides the fact that they are from Colorado and use organic ingredients, is that they source their produce and ingredients from local Colorado farms. These are farms whose stands I visit in farmers markets and whose produce I buy.
They were kind enough to provide me with a few jars of my choice of fruit or vegetables. Since Thanksgiving is next week, they were interested in the stuffing/dressing recipe I mentioned. I asked for some of their delicious jarred Paonia pears with rosemary for the recipe. The rosemary and pear combination is fantastic.
I used a hearty, peasant bread from Whole Foods, leeks for a mild onion flavour and some beautiful, crimson pomegranate arils for that burst of sweet tart flavour. Of course, you can use whatever bread you’d like including a good quality dried bread stuffing cubes. If MM Local pears are available in your area, please seek them out and use them! They are of excellent quality and so much better than any tinned pear.
I made the dressing in a pan and this quantity will make enough for a 9 x13 pan. I made a bit extra to stuff some under a chicken I was roasting for dinner so I could taste them both ways.
They are both excellent. Of course, the stuffing had all the chicken drippings so it did have extra flavour from the chicken fat and spices. The dressing in a pan can be drizzled with the turkey juices and some turkey fat to get the same flavour. The dressing by itself has a lot of flavour as well, the sweetness of the pears, the saltiness of the bread, the crunch of the toasted pecans and the tartness from the pomegranate all add great layers of flavour and texture.
If you’re looking for a new stuffing/dressing recipe, I hope you’ll give this one a try. If there is one new recipe I try every year, it’s the stuffing recipe. A new one every Thanksgiving 🙂
To make your holidays sweeter or more savoury, MM Local is giving away a sample (it’ll probably be a MM Local gift card or promo code) of their delicious jarred fruit or vegetables to two lucky people (US only at the moment) All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favourite Thanksgiving dish. Is it the stuffing? The sweet potato casserole smothered in marshmallows or the green bean casserole? I want to know (really, I just want ideas for new side dishes) I’ll pick a winner by Thanksgiving and announce by the end of the month.
So, onto this Pear Stuffing recipe, hope you get a chance to try it.
Serves: 12 servings
- 2 jars MM Local Pears with Rosemary
- 2 cups sliced leeks, about 3 medium, white and light green parts
- 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cup pomegranate arils
- 1½ cups pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sage, chopped
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 10 cups bread cubes, good quality
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup pear syrup from the jar
- ½ cup heavy cream, optional
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Few tablespoons of turkey drippings
- If you are using fresh bread cubes, allow to dry out overnight or place in the oven on a sheet pan and dry out at 325F/150C for about 20-25 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- In a large skillet or frying pan, melt the butter.
- Add the leeks and allow to soften
- Add the celery and garlic and cook until soft.
- Add the sage and rosemary and cook for two minutes or so.
- Place the cooked mixture into a big bowl.
- Add the cubes of bread and toss with the vegetables, allowing the butter to coat the bread.
- Sprinkle the pear syrup over the top the bread and toss.
- Add the heavy cream if using and toss again.
- Moisten the bread cubes with enough chicken broth as needed.
- Some people like the stuffing drier so you can adjust how much broth you add.
- If you like the stuffing more soft, add all the broth and add more pear syrup or cream if needed.
- Allow the cubes of bread to sit and soak the liquid for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the papers into bite size chunks and mix into the bread mixture.
- I chopped mine the same size as my bread chunks to give a more rustic looking dish.
- Add 1 cup of the pomegranate arils to the stuffing and mix through.
- Add the chopped pecans.
- Grease or spray a 9 x13 roasting tin or glass dish.
- Pour in the stuffing mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Place the stuffing in the oven for about 45-55 minutes or until nicely brown and the liquid has all been absorbed.
- After it is baked, if you wish, pour the turkey drippings through the stuffing, and add the remaining pomegranate arils before serving.
- If stuffing the bird, place the stuffing in the cavity and follow turkey cooking directions.
- Bake the rest alongside, following directions above.
Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving prep is well underway. I just finished a big event last night and I can now start my planning. It hasn’t helped that I’m still not better. I have a sinus and ear infection and I pretty much can’t hear anything but buzzing in my right ear. My husband is pretty thankful that I can’t talk either.
The giveaway is now over! Winners announced in the new post.