November is not my favorite month.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky… (from My November Guest by Robert Frost)
Perhaps because I’m still clinging to fall and November is so close to winter. Actually, I’m still clinging to summer. I’m still wearing my flip flops, not yet resigned to boots. My toes are cold, but soon they will be trapped inside shoes and houses with snow all around. So for a few more days, please let me wear flip flops.
As gloomy as November feels, there is beauty in it. And there is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. Its the cozy warm pocket in this grey, chilly month.
And where there is Thanksgiving, there is stuffing. Stuffing is kind of amazing. You can add pretty much anything to bread and broth and bake it and it will taste amazing. It was kind of a revelation to me when I realized a few years ago that Stove Top from a box is not the only way to make stuffing. Its one of my favorite dishes to play around with every fall because the possibilities are endless.
A few years back I posted THIS stuffing with mushrooms, cranberries, parmesan, and pine nuts. Its one of my favorites. This year I combined robust leeks, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and kale with sweet apples and dried cranberries. Its delicious.
I used some of the same ingredients in my Parmesan Potato Tian in my last post to make things easy at the grocery store and so you aren’t left with a bunch of leftover leeks and sage. If you make both recipes, you could even chop up all the leeks, shallots, sage, and sweet potatoes for both recipes all at once. For quick prep on Thanksgiving day, chop everything a day or two ahead of time and toast the bread ahead of time. You could also easily make this vegan by using vegan bread, olive oil instead of butter, and egg replacement instead of egg. Or just leave out the egg.
Oh, how I love Thanksgiving!
- 1 large loaf of artisan bread (I used a roasted garlic sourdough from the grocery store bakery)
- 2 TBSP. butter
- 1 large shallot, diced small
- 1 large celery stalk, sliced
- 1-2 large leeks, halved and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried sage (or about 1 TBSP. chopped fresh sage)
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried savory
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 3-4 large Kale leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 C. fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/4 C. dried cranberries
- 1 apple, diced
- 1/4 C. pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 C. vegetable broth
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the whole loaf of bread into large cubes. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until toasted and browned. Add to a large bowl and set aside.
2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once the butter is hot, add the chopped shallots, leeks, celery, mushrooms, and sweet potato. Cook for a couple minutes then reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, sage, thyme, savory, and pepper and cook until the sweet potato begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the kale and cook for another minute or two. Add the contents of the skillet to the big bowl with the bread.
3. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and fresh parsley. Add to the large bowl of bread and veggies. Add the cranberries, apple, and pecans. Toss with tongs to combine and coat with egg. Pour the broth over top the whole mixture, then quickly transfer it to a large baking dish using tongs. The bread will be pretty soggy. Leave any remaining broth at the bottom of the bowl.
4. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, uncovered.