Monday, November 10, 2014

Paleo Herbed Stuffing


When it comes to Thanksgiving, I am very traditional. Taking a bite of dark meat turkey slathered in cranberry sauce instantly transports me to my childhood when cousins and aunts and uncles would all descend on my parents' house for the holiday weekend.

The rhythm of making the same dishes year after year is comforting to me.

One of my favorite foods of the holiday is stuffing or dressing. (I'll admit I haven't stuffed a bird since I took a food handler's course while waiting tables in college and realized how ridiculously easy it is to send all your guests home with food poisoning!) But, whatever you call it, it's basically toasted bread cubes, herbs, onion and celery cooked in a moist heat.

Some folks like to make cornbread stuffing or add sausage or more esoteric ingredients. But, like I said, I crave familiar flavors. And those flavors translate so easily from the bread-based side dish to this paleo-friendly dressing. It's so spot on, there were moments that I forgot it wasn't my mom's recipe.

You can easily double the recipe; simply use two baking sheets and increase the cooking time slightly. Bonus, if you don't eat it all, you can make a delicious breakfast hash the next morning. It's one of those leftovers that's worth fighting over. (Sorry, honey, I got there first!)

Serves 4
1 very large white sweet potato, peeled
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth*

*feel free to use vegetable broth if you have vegetarians on the guest list.

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. 
2. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2-inch dice. Toss with herbs and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper.


3. Roast for about 40 - 45 minutes, or until browned.
4. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and celery until slightly softened.


5. When the sweet potatoes are finished baking, remove about 1 cup of them to a baking dish and mash gently with a potato masher or the back of a fork. This replicates the slightly smashed texture of traditional stuffing surprisingly well.
6. Add the remaining potatoes and the sauteed onion and celery, tossing gently to combine.
7. Pour the chicken broth over the dish, cover and bake for another 15 minutes, or cool completely and bake until heated through when you're ready to serve.

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