Everyone’s got that one Thanksgiving dish, right? The one that has to be on the table. If missing, you get all pouty and you might even sulk, because whoever spent the past four days cooking neglected to take the time to make the dish that you look forward to all year.
For me, it’s stuffing. I don’t even really care what animal is at the center of the table. I’ve never gotten all that excited about squash or sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower for you low-carbers) are always delicious, but it would be a gross exaggeration to say that I get excited about them.
My uncle Allan makes the best stuffing. Hands down. The best. I was a bit shocked the first time I attended a Thanksgiving hosted by someone other than my Aunt and Uncle. Their stuffing was different. What the heck.
There are, apparently, a gazillion different takes on stuffing (or dressing, if it’s not actually stuffed inside the bird. I still call it stuffing. I don’t care what Martha says. Dressing goes on salad.) There’s the sourdough variety, I’m sure a popular choice here in my beloved San Francisco. I did for a moment ponder the idea of making a version with a loaf from Bread SRSLY– the best gluten-free sourdough in all the land. I also considered making Allan’s recipe with gluten-free cornbread. That’s what I did last year, and it was incredible. But then I got a message from my friend Johnny from Eating For Idiots, asking for some Paleo Thanksgiving pointers. He was comparing Paleo stuffing recipes, none of which looked like the one I love, and can’t have Thanksgiving without. It felt like a challenge I had to accept.
In true compulsive recipe developer fashion, I was in the car in about 15 seconds, list in hand. I could already smell Thanksgiving.
Best Ever Paleo Stuffing.
1 pound ground pork
2 cups diced onions
2 cups diced bell peppers
4 cups (about 1 pound) diced mushrooms
2 cups diced apples
8 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
~ 2 T duck fat, bacon fat, butter, or coconut oil. (I used duck fat)
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
1 T fresh thyme, minced
2-3 leaves fresh sage (or 1/2 t dried)
1/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 T coconut flour
- Prepare all of your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350°.
- Melt about 2 teaspoons of your fat of choice in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the pork and cook until it just browns, 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Pour off excess liquid from your skillet and add another teaspoon of fat.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Saute until golden brown and soft, 6-8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the pork.
- Add another teaspoon of fat, and saute bell peppers for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Throw in yet another teaspoon of fat, turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the mushrooms. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- To the large bowl, add the apples, pecans, cranberries, herbs, and a good pinch of salt.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, chicken or turkey stock, and coconut flour. Add a pinch of salt if you’re stock isn’t salted.
- Pour the liquid into the large bowl and mix.
- Pour the whole thing into an oven safe casserole and bake for one hour.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. It will firm up a bit.
Why on earth am I making you sauté all of the vegetables separately?
For two reasons:
- It’s a lot of stuff, you probably don’t have a pan that fits it all.
- If you cook it all at the same time, you’ll wind up steaming, not sautéing.