Are you a stuffing-on-your-plate first type of person at the holiday dinner table?
I sure am.
There’s just something so good about pieces of toasted bread mixed with the best of seasonal ingredients and baked while in a bath of broth and butter.
I see a lot out there this time of year about making your holiday meals “healthier” and usually classic stuffing is first to get butchered into something that almost certainly not stuffing. But here is how I see it:
Eating well at the holiday table means eating foods that fill you emotionally, physically and spiritually. Start with the best, high quality ingredients (preferably those that are in season) and then make them into a beautiful dish you can share with those you love.
That’s why I love this Caramelized Red Onion & Date Sourdough Stuffing. It’s packed with beautiful ingredients that just scream fall including red onion, hearty kale and delicious Deglet dates. The sweet flavors are balanced by pieces of tangy sourdough and a splash of hard cider.
A few other things to know about this dish:
Different Dates: For this recipe I find that Deglet Noor dates do the best as even the dried variety tend to retain some moisture. Their flavor is often more subtle than the larger Medjool date.
Substitutions: If you don’t have any dry hard cider around, you can also use a dry white wine or simply use some chicken broth.
Serve With: Your favorite holiday dishes, of course! But honestly, this is a stuffing you can enjoy all winter long (and sure beats the boxed stuff when a craving comes on). Try it alongside a Sunday night roasted chicken or these Dijon Chicken Thighs with Olive Oil Poached Beets.
Caramelized Red Onion & Date Sourdough Stuffing
Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
10 ounce sourdough bread loaf, preferably 1-day old and sliced roughly into 1/2” cubes (about 8 cups)
3 medium red onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4” thick rings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups roughly chopped Lacinato kale, stems removed (about 10 ounces)
2 cups Deglet dates, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 cup dry hard cider (I love using Shacksbury Dry Cider)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place bread on a baking tray in a single layer and toast for 30 minutes, flipping once. Once the bread is toasted, place into a large bowl. Lightly butter a 3 quart (9x13) casserole dish and set aside.
2. In a large, high sided skillet melt the butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion rings, separately them from each other as you add them. Using tongs, toss the onions well making sure they are evenly coated in the butter and oil mixture.
3. Cook the onions for 35-40 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are cooked down and caramelized. And don’t worry, the bits on the bottom of your pan ARE the caramelization happening - it’s a good thing!
4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the apple cider vinegar and using your spoon to scrape up all those delicious bits on the bottom of the pan. Let cook for 5 more minutes to cook off any remaining vinegar. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, remove from pan and set aside.
5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the kale. Let the kale cook for 3-4 minutes or until gently wilted. Add in the chopped dates, rosemary and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Combine well and let cook 2 more minutes.
6. Deglaze the pan by adding the 1/4 cup of hard cider and remember to scrape up all of those yummy bits! Pour the kale and date mixture in the bowl with the toasted bread. Add the onions and stir to combine well.
7. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken stock and the egg. Pour mixture into the large bowl, being sure to coat all of the ingredients. Place the stuffing mixture into the prepared baking dish and place in the oven (it should still be set to 400F).
8. Bake the stuffing for 30-35 minutes or until the bread on top is lightly toasted yet still springs back to the touch. If the top starts browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil.
9. Remove the stuffing from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Are you looking to incorporate more real food holiday recipes on your table this year? Join me on November 15th for an in person workshop as we create and enjoy together three seasonally focused holiday dishes. Grab your tickets for my Real Food Holiday Workshop here.