Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanksgiving in September: Bread Stuffing with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Golden Raisins

A couple of weekends ago, I was a little fed up with work, a lot stressed out about all the work left to do, and my new issue of Fine Cooking had just arrived. There was a fantastic article on Thanksgiving, and I just couldn't resist! I made stuffing, cauliflower, and pumpkin pie, and my housemates chimed in with mashed potatoes and a dining room table made over with candles and cloth napkins! It made for a perfect Thanksgiving in September. To save time, we bought a rotisserie chicken and a rotisserie turkey breast...not quite as good as homemade, but it did make it possible to have mini-Thanksgiving for six in about four hours! Yum. I'm posting the recipe for the delicious stuffing today, and I'll follow up with the other dishes later this week. The only thing I would do differently here is to make some gravy to go alongside the stuffing...without a bird, we didn't think to buy a jar, but I think this would help a lot since the stuffing was a bit dry. The flavors were wonderful though, and I would definitely make it again, just with gravy on top.

Bread Stuffing with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Golden Raisins (adapted from Fine Cooking)

1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup golden raisins
1-pound loaf of rustic bread
3 T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly chopped fresh chives
2 T chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 cups turkey or chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Put the cranberries and raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
3. Cut the bread into 3/4-inch chunks. In a large bowl, combine the bread, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Arrange the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and place in a large bowl.
4. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the pecans and continue to cook for about ten minutes, until everything is nicely browned and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Drain the cranberries and raisins and add to the toasted bread. Pour in the shallot-pecan-butter mixture in a few additions, tossing the bread after each addition. Add the chives, thyme, and orange zest and toss to combine.
6. At this point, you can hold the ingredients for a few hours or continue with the recipe right away. Stir in the broth. Toss well--the bread should absorb most of the broth. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Hold at room temperature up to one hour, or cook right away.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake until crusty and golden, another 25-35 minutes.

My housemate Josh was nice enough to be the photographer for the Thanksgiving in September photo shoot...here he is carving the meat:


  1. What a great idea! Why wait for Thanksgiving when you can have it right now!

    It's not too early to start planning for Thanksgiving in November, either. Work out where you will be and who will be bringing what food.

  2. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Your feast sounds perfect!

  3. I have been drooling over that issue and waiting for cooler weather since I got it! Yours looks sooo yummy.