Last Thanksgiving, I got put in charge of stuffing, and I was like, heck yeah! Stuffing rules! Easy! And I brainstormed about what would make the best stuffing, and I thought squash might be good with sourdough bread. And bacon would make it just perfect. I could throw something like that together! Should be no problem!
But I guess the little elves who put the Stove Top into the box actually work pretty hard, because my stuffing took me forever. Staling bread, chopping squash, frying bacon—all quick on paper, but many steps! So oven! Such wait! And then I made it again for another Thanksgiving celebration the following week and it took forever again.
The worst (and I guess best) part is that I would slave over it again, because it was delicious. Sweet squash and salty bacon and rich sourdough? That’s right—all the reasons it’s so yummy and perfect are the very reasons why it takes so long to make.
But damn, is it ever worth it.
This recipe would not have been possible without the help of the one-page guide to basic mix ‘n match stuffing recipes I saved from the November 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine.[divider]
Butternut Squash Sourdough Stuffing
Sourdough Dressing with Butternut Squash
- 1 hefty loaf of stale* sourdough bread (enough to make about 16 cups o’ bread cubes)
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cut bread into 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubes. Smaller is better, but I find sourdough tough to chop up, so do the best you can.
- Peel and seed the squash, the chop it into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with olive oil, spread them out on a baking pan (jelly roll pans are perfect), and roast in the 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until just fork-penetrable. Don’t overdo it here, because the squash will spend about another hour in the oven later, and overcooked squash disintegrates. Still delicious but really not the same.
- While the squash is roasting, fry your bacon the usual way, over medium heat in a pan, and drain it of grease on a paper towel. Set aside.
- Remove squash from oven to cool, and reduce heat to 375 F.
- Heat 1 stick of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, sage and thyme, and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft (5 minutes or so). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken broth or stock, bring to a simmer, and remove from the heat. (This is literally the only step that resembles Stove Top.)
- In a large bowl, beat eggs and add parsley. Crumble the cooked bacon and add it to the bowl. Gently stir in the bread cubes, hot veggie-and-broth mixture, and squash.
- Transfer to a large baking dish and dot with the remaining butter. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 20–25 minutes more.
*If your bread isn’t stale yet, or isn’t stale enough, chop it up (or slice it, if it’s really too fresh) and lay it on a baking sheet in a warm (300 degrees or lower) oven for about 15 minutes, until it’s dry but not brown. Don’t let it brown! That’s toast.