Middle Eastern Stuffing

Middle Eastern Stuffing
Anita Schecter
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 Servings
Ratings

The other day someone asked, of all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, which is the one you would not give up. Easy answer. Stuffing! When I was growing up, my mother used to make two big batches. One for the actual holiday meal and one for us to have over the rest of that weekend. She knew we might be willing to settle for whatever quantity of leftovers remained of the other dishes but we'd never accept an insufficient amount of stuffing.

I am the child of immigrants and that fact shaped our customs and holiday traditions. My mother wanted her "American child" to have an American Thanksgiving but she also tailored many of the foods to the tastes that were more familiar to her. We didn't always have a turkey but we always had a roast bird of some kind. Ducks, chickens, pheasants, even individual Cornish game hens for a houseful of guests one year. But no matter which bird was on offer, it was always stuffed and there was plenty extra in a casserole dish.

Typical Middle Eastern stuffing is usually rice based, not bread based. But my Americanized Middle Eastern stuffing combines the bread I love with the apples, nuts and spices more common in Middle Eastern cooking. You can call it fusion. I call it delicious. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 4 Cups small bread cubes
  • 1 Stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Cup almonds, rough chopped
  • 2 Large apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 Cups chicken stock (I used low fat, low sodium stock)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cardamom
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

If you buy store bought stuffing bread cubes they should already be toasted. But if you're using homemade, spread the cubes out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes until lightly golden bread. The toasted bread will absorb the liquid better.

Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet or cast iron pan along with the onion. Saute on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent or a light golden brown.

Stir in the almonds and apples and continue sauteing and stirring for another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and thyme.

While the onion is sauteing, Add the chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you prefer) and cardamom to a pot and simmer.

Add the toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Stir in the sauteed onion mixture and pour on the warm stock. Stir to combine and to make sure the bread is absorbing the liquid but try not to mash it too much. Fluff a bit with a fork and transfer to a baking dish. When ready to serve, bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.