My wife is of Lebanese descent, and over the past few years I have enjoyed eating, and learning about her family’s delicious, middle eastern cuisine. I cook a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but wanted to give a little culinary nod to her folks who will be joining us for our feast again this year.
Thanks to Food52, and their recent “Best Thanksgiving Stuffing” competition, I decided to rework my turkey day stuffing to reflect some flavors of their culture. The resulting dish will be a welcome addition to a more “international” day of Thanksgiving. Lamb sausage, pistachios, mint, feta cheese, and zatar, combine with local flavors such as apples, cranberries, and leeks to make a deliciously new take on an old standard.
Arthas, who is a big fan of my normal Turkey Day dressing, which I make with Sweet Italian sausage, was a bit skeptical when I explained our game plan for concocting this new version, but like a good soldier, he rolled up his sleeves and helped me prep the “mise” required for this dish. The finished stuffing earned his unqualified seal of approval, so much so, that he ate a big plate of it again for breakfast the morning after we had made it! I urge you to give this recipe, along with our Gingered Cranberry Chutney a try at your Thanksgiving table this year, they are both fun twists on tradition.
We wish you all, our “Oui, Chef” readers, a safe and delicious Thanksgiving.
Cheers – Steve and the gang.
- 1 pound artisinal sourdough bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 pound lamb sausage (mild, not hot like a merguez)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and cut into large dice
- 3 celery stalks, cut into medium dice
- 2 granny smith apples, peeld, cored, and cut into medium dice
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup raw pistachio meats
- 1/3 cup finely sliced fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon zatar (can be found in middle eastern markets, or through Penzeys)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 ℉. Place bread cubes on sheet trays and bake until dry and just starting to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Remove sausage meat from casings, and saute with a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, breaking up large pieces with the back of a spoon, until cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bread cubes.
- Remove any lamb fat from the pan, return it to the heat, add the butter, then the garlic and saute on low-medium heat until it just turns golden. Add the leeks, apples, celery, cranberries, pistachios, rosemary, thyme, zatar, and mint, and turn heat up to medium. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the leeks and apples soften, about 10 minutes. When done, add to the mixing bowl with the meat and bread.
- Whisk the two eggs and add to the mixing bowl along with 1 to 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock to moisten (how much will depend on the bread you use), add the fresh parsley, the feta cheese, and check again for seasoning.
- Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Butter a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with the stuffing. Top with a piece of buttered foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until top is nicely browned.