Recipe: Chef Stephen's Seasonal Stuffing
Impress your dinner guests with this za'atar-spiced stuffing
Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is the sides. Among them is stuffing, the darling of the table for carbohydrate-inclined holiday diners.
The Institute of Culinary Education's Chef-Instructor Stephen Chavez knows this full well. He chose to make stuffing for ICE LA's first demonstration in partnership with The Original Farmer's Market, where he served up 400 samples to hungry passersby. The stuffing features breakfast sausage from Marconda's Meats, one of the market's longest-standing merchants.
Chef Stephen says he chose the breakfast sausage for the stuffing because it has a neutral flavor that pairs well with the sumac and za'atar seasoning in the recipe. If meat stuffing doesn't suit your taste, no need to fear: the recipe can easily be made plant-based.
"The stuffing is completely vegan except for the sausage, so it's super easy to customize," Chef Stephen says.
Give Chef Stephen's stuffing a try this year to spice up your classic sides and keep an eye out for ICE LA's future partnership demonstrations with The Original Farmer's Market.
Seasonal Stuffing with Sausage, Fennel, Pears, and Za’atar
Yields 6 to 8 portions
- ½ loaf multi-grain bread (approximately ½ pound/8 ounces/4 cups)
- ½ loaf rustic bread (focaccia or ciabatta) (approximately ½ pound/8 ounces/4 cups)
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter or plant-based butter
- 2-4 cups (16 - 32 ounces) vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon dried fennel seeds, ground
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 2 tablespoons za’atar
- 6 tablespoons oil (extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or organic canola oil)
- 1 pound sausage (Try Marconda's Meats' breakfast sausage!)
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 leek, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 pears, medium diced (approximately 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- ¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped (2-4 ounces)
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Cut or tear the bread into small pieces and place into a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and pour it over the bread. Add fennel seed, sumac and za’atar, and toss together.
- Spread bread mixture evenly onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until crispy but not brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- Warm the stock in a medium pot over low heat.
- Heat a large pan, add ¼ cup of oil and cook sausage until cooked and brown. Once brown, remove from the pan and set aside. Remove any brown bits from pan.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, add shallot, celery, leek, and fennel plus ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Cook vegetables over medium heat until tender. You may need to add water or stock as it cooks if the mixture gets dry or begins to burn.
- Once vegetables are tender, add garlic and sweat until smell is noticeable (approximately 2 minutes).
- Add pears and warm through.
- Remove pan with mixture from heat.
- Add seasoned bread cubes, cooked sausage, half of fresh herbs, and half of pecans together with vegetable/fruit mixture.
- Add stock until the stuffing reaches your desired texture*.
- Butter or lightly spray a baking dish and place mixture into dish and bake in oven until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and top with the rest of the fresh herbs and pecans, serve.
*You can add 2 beaten eggs at this step if you like your stuffing custardy.
For a plant-based dish, you can add 3-6 tablespoons of flax meal or psyllium husk powder combined with 1-2 tablespoons of warm water in place of the eggs and omit the sausage.
Tag us on @iceculinary if you make this recipe, we’d love to see it!