When I first started thinking about this year’s Thanksgiving menu (and believe me, I’ve been thinking about it a while), I was set on traditional. I didn’t cook at all last year. I was visiting my husband here in California, in the midst of our move, and we ate Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant.
Knowing this year would be different, I started planning early. Sweet potato casserole, my usual cranberry pecan stuffing — it had all been penciled in. But then I considered all the new ingredients I have access to. It seemed silly not to take full advantage and incorporate them into some new traditions.
So I’ve shifted gears a bit. There will still be some old favorites, like my grandmother’s pumpkin pie. But otherwise, I want avocados, artichokes, dates and figs to make an appearance. I’ve never had such access to these foods and it seems to me they should fit right in with what we are used to this time of year.
I’ve been experimenting a little so that the big day isn’t a big fail. My first challenge was the stuffing (my favorite thing on the menu, next to cranberry sauce).
It had to be sourdough. No exceptions. Then I came across some California sundried tomatoes and I thought they would be the perfect partner for the artichoke hearts I’d been considering.
The result? What a winner! The sweet sundried tomatoes and the tart artichoke hearts were meant to be with the tangy sourdough. I don’t always add an egg white to my stuffing, but this time I was glad I did. It created a soft, but solid center that was balanced by the crispy, crunchy edges on top.
I may not go back to my old favorite. Or I might have to start making two stuffings. I haven’t decided yet.
Sourdough Stuffing with Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes
Makes: 4 servings
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
½ cup red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes
3 canned, unseasoned artichoke hearts, chopped (marinated would work, but it may add a different flavor)
3 ½ cups toasted sourdough bread cubes (I cut my own from a stale loaf and broiled for about 5 minutes)
1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
1/8 ground black pepper
1/8 tsp poultry seasoning
¼ – ½ tsp salt
1 egg white
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 quart casserole dish or loaf pan with your oil of choice.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.
Add the sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Cook for 1 more minute. Turn off the heat.
Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the cooked vegetables. Add the vegetable stock a little at a time as you stir the stuffing. Continue to stir until the bread cubes are well saturated.
Stir in the black pepper and poultry seasoning. Add the ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt to taste (you may need less if your stock is salted).
Once you’ve added the right amount of salt, stir in the egg white. Continue to stir until it is incorporated into the stuffing.
Transfer the stuffing to the baking dish. Press it gently into the dish to smooth the surface.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges are browned and the top has a nice golden color. Serve warm.
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