Photos by Rikki Snyder
Stuffing has always been one of my favorite side dishes at Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, I would pile an embarrassing amount onto my plate. (Although, to be fair, I did eat it all!) With that soft bottom layer and a slightly crispy, browned top, it is hard to resist! My grandma made a mean stuffing, but it was very simple and classic, with just some onions, carrots and celery. While her version was delicious and holds such great memories, it’s been fun to play around with different flavors and combinations to spice it up a bit.
This pumpkin-cheddar stuffing may in fact be my favorite so far. Instead of just saturating the bread with broth, you’ll whisk the broth together with some pumpkin puree and then pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Shredded cheddar cheese is tossed into the mix, which pairs so well with the pumpkin. The stuffing is also studded with some sauteed onion and apple, which gives just a hint of sweetness. Fresh sage and thyme add a little extra flavor, making for a stuffing that is certainly not boring.
Stale bread works best when making stuffing, so try to use a loaf that is at least a day old. I also like to cut the bread into cubes a day in advance, which helps them get even a little more stale and cuts down on prep time on Thanksgiving Day.
This post was originally published on November 19, 2014.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 small apples peeled, cored and diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 approximately 10-ounce loaf stale crusty bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese 3 ounces
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a large (3-quart) casserole dish with an oil mister and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a medium skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Pour into a large bowl and add the bread cubes and cheese.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, broth and egg until combined. Pour it over the veggies, bread and cheese and toss until everything is combined and the pieces are evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake until the top is golden brown, about 20 more minutes more.