Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo

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When my husband and I decided to elope way back when, Hawaii was our obvious destination. We’d both visited before and loved it.

Today happens to be the 40th anniversary of our wedding in Lahaina, Maui. Since 1982, we have continued to visit Hawaii – for special occasions, non-occasions, taken young kids, taken older kids and their friends… we even renewed our vows with our children present. (Not recommended.)

I just had to include this photo. It’s personal, but I hardly recognize these people! I do treasure it as it’s our only photo. That’s what happens when you elope! (Which I highly recommend!)

It’s safe to say that we love the islands. There is so much to do and experience, and the food is wonderful. And, to quote my young daughter, “It just smells good there.”

There was a particularly fabulous restaurant we dined at called A Pacific Café in Kapaa, Kauai, located in a crappy little shopping center. The owner was chef Jean Marie Josselin, who was originally from Chamonix, France, trained in Paris, then moved to Hawaii in 1985. He opened this restaurant in 1990.

My husband and I ate at the Café for our 10 year anniversary, in 1992, and later that year Hurricane Iniki wiped out part of Kauai including the restaurant. Very sad.

Because of our wonderful restaurant experience, however, I purchased “A Taste of Hawaii” by Chef Josselin, published in 1992. The book is a delight. Hawaiian cuisine is varied – it’s not all about macadamia nuts and pineapple. There are so many influences on its cuisine by Asian countries, and even Spain and Portugal.

The recipe I chose to make from the cookbook is Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo. It’s an unexpected surf and turf combination that originated in the Phillipines – not something I would have ordered from a menu myself, but it shows the diversity of Hawaiian cuisine. Plus I got to buy lobster!

From the author, “Adobo is widely considered to be the national dish of the Philippines. The flavors balance beautifully in this dish, especially with the sour tang of the vinegar. The lobster in this dish is my own variation, but you can also make it with shrimp – or simply with chicken and pork.”

If you want to read more about Chef Josselin, who is referred to as a pioneer of Hawaiian cuisine, and also known for joining 11 other chefs in starting the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine movement over 25 years ago, this is a great article.

Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo
Serves 4-6

1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened with a knife
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/2 pound boneless pork butt, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces cooked lobster, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 medium tomatoes, cut into cubes
3 teaspoons cilantro

In a saucepan, combine the bay leaf, garlic, vinegar, salt, pork, chicken, and water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding water if needed to keep mixture moist.

Drain the meat and reserve the cooking juices.

Using a hand-held strainer, remove the garlic from the liquid. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and when it is hot, add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic turns golden, then add the chicken and pork and sauté until the meat is golden or lightly browned.

Add the reserved cooking stock to the pan, followed by the lobster.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Cook for another minute or so, and serve at once.

This is definitely what I’d call a “peasant” dish, but it doesn’t lack flavor. It has a fabulous zing from the vinegar.

Cranberry Chocolate Clafoutis

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From the blog, Foxes Love Lemons, comes this delightful recipe that I discovered in December, 2021. I already had my posts scheduled, so I printed and filed the recipe away for the 2022 season.

But then, I realized that cranberries aren’t just a Christmas fruit, although I love them during the holidays – sauces, chutneys, salsas, vodkas, cookies, compote, and more, plus they’re just so pretty! But other fruits are red, and they’re not only used in December. Maybe it’s because you don’t string strawberries for Christmas tree garlands.

So here it is a very cold January, and I had a bag of cranberries in my fridge. I love a good clafoutis, savory or sweet, cause they’re something I can actually bake! (At least I haven’t ruined one yet.)

Thank you Lori Yates, a culinary school graduate, who claims that this is “one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.” Plus she admits that she’s not the biggest dessert fan (which I can relate to!).

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Clafoutis
By Lori, Foxes Love Lemons

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh cranberries, about 2 3/4 ounces
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, about 2 1/4 ounces
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease two 6.5” cast iron skillets with butter.

In a blender, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt until blended. Add flour and blend 45 seconds or until smooth.

Divide batter between prepared skillets, sprinkle with cranberries and chocolate chips.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of skillet comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving, if serving warm.

Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

And ice cream!

Steak Diane

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“Considered a signature entrée at Manhattan’s beloved Drake Hotel, Steak Diane is widely attributed to Beniamino Schiavon, the Drake’s maître d’hôtel from 1942 to 1967. Though many assume the name references the Roman goddess of the hunt, The New York Times, in its 1968 obituary of Schiavon, described the titular Diane only as a “beauty of the 1920s.”

SAVEUR’s take on the steak upgrades the beef from the Drake’s original sirloin to tender filet mignon. A great idea in my opinion. The recipe list also includes fresh oyster or hen-of-the-wood mushrooms; many steak Diane recipes to not.

I can’t get “exotic” mushrooms at my local grocery store, and while shopping online I noticed that there were canned chanterelles available, so I thought I’d try them out. They’re certainly not like fresh ones, but it turned out that these would work in a pinch. If you ever try canned mushrooms, make sure to dry them well before using.

Notice I halved the recipe. Afterwards I wish I hadn’t!

Steak Diane
printable recipe below

Four 4-oz. filet mignon steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 1⁄2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
4 oz. oyster or hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
1⁄4 cup cognac
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the steaks and cook, turning once, until evenly browned, 4–5 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a plate to rest. (I always use a rack for this purpose.)

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the stock. Cook, stirring to deglaze, until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 10 minutes. Pour the demi-glace into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Prior to cooking, I reduced the

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted and the foam begins to subside, add the garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften, release their liquid, and begin to brown, about 2 minutes more. Add the cognac, then carefully light with a long match or lighter to flambé, shaking gently until the flame dies down.

Stir in the reserved demi-glace along with the cream, Dijon, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Return the reserved steaks to the skillet, lower the heat to simmer, and cook, turning to coat, until the sauce is thickened and the meat is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Because my steaks were so thick (thank you Lobel’s!) I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.

To serve, transfer the steaks to warmed serving plates; stir the chives and parsley into the sauce, and drizzle it over the steaks.

I served the steaks with steamed green beans. Perfection.

If you can’t “feel” the doneness of filet mignons, (I feel using tongs), make sure to use a thermometer to test the temperature internally. Rare is 125 degrees, medium-rare is 135 degrees. Ideally, let them rest on a rack, covered loosely with foil, after cooking.

 

 

Chocolate Pear Tart

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This recipe was shared with me by a well-known foodie who lives in my area. She’d received it after attending a cooking school in Tuscany about 25 years ago. The recipe never got published, so I’m sharing.

This is the only dessert my husband has requested on more than one occasion. Oh, there might be an occasional bananas Foster request, depending on the season, but this tart is hands down his favorite dessert. And for good reason.

The pie has a dense chocolate crust, a layer of raspberry jam, pears, and a chocolate, meringue-like filling. What is not to love?

Use canned or jarred pear halves for this tart. Home-made poached pears would be lovely, but the other flavors are strong and I don’t think it would be worth the poaching. Raw pears would not be soft enough.

Chocolate Pear Tart

1 stick, or 4 ounces butter
2 cups white flour
2 eggs, whisked
2 cups sugar
2 cups unsweetened cocoa
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
2 egg whites
3 ounces seedless raspberry jam
2 – 29 ounce cans pear halves, drained well, dried
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons baking sugar

Make the dough by processing the butter, flour, egg, sugar, and cocoa, adding a few drops of water if necessary. I have had to place the mixture in a large bowl to moisten the dough before; it’s a large amount of dry to uniformly turn into a crust.

Butter and lightly flour a 11” pie tin with a removable bottom. Form a crust in the bottom by pressing and forming as neatly as possible, and chill in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over barely simmering water until smooth. I remember reading that you are not “cooking” the chocolate when tempering, you are simply melting it. Set aside to cool.

Remove the pie tin from the refrigerator and spread the jam on the crust. Forming a concentric circle, place the best, most uniform-sized pears, inside down, on the jam layer. You can form one last pear into a round and place it in the middle of the tart.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick, about 5-6 minutes. Whip the egg whites until stiff and set aside.

Gently fold in the chocolate and egg whites into the yolk and sugar mixture.

Pour the chocolate filling over the pears and smooth. Bake for about 40 minutes.

If desired, serve with whipped cream.

When I mentioned that the recipe calls for an 11″ tart pan, it’s important. I could only find a 10″, and the resulting tart is not as pretty.

The tops of the pears should not be covered in chocolate meringue, the tops of the pears should be bare.

You can still see all of the wonderful elements of this tart, and know how good it is, but it’s just not as pretty as it should be. Plus, I slightly undercooked the tart, which accounts for some of the oozing chocolate and raspberry jam. But don’t be discouraged, because I’ve made this before with no issues at all, and I’m no baker!

Chicken with Fermented Black Beans

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In the post Growing up Foodie, I write about how my mother became extremely enamored and proficient with Chinese cuisine, thanks to meeting a Chinese cook, author, and shop owner in Seattle, Washington, namely Mrs. Esther Chin. This is her cookbook from the 60’s.

Quickly, with cooking lessons in exchange for sea cucumbers my mother collected scuba diving in the Puget Sound, my Mom learned and cooked and our house smelled like an Asian grocery store. There were cleavers and steamers and sieves and woks and chopsticks and porcelain spoons. She never sat with us to eat because she was always cooking everything at the last minute. You just heard a lot of clanging and banging, and endless French swear words.

And then lo and behold, a myriad of dishes would appear on the table – winter melon soup, dumplings, shrimp balls, steamed duck, five willow fish, salads, and an occasional stir fry. And, surprisingly, I loved chicken cooked with fermented bean sauce.

My mother recently gave me Mrs. Chin’s cookbook she had treasured for so many years, and there was the recipe. There are also recipes for bird’s nests and shark’s fins…


Chicken  with  Black  Bean  Sauce
Mrs. Chin

2 pounds trimmed chicken thighs
2 tablespoons cornstarch, or more if necessary
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup fermented black beans
6 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 pound cauliflower florets
1 cup stock
1 tablespoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with the cornstarch. I use a sieve for the cornstarch, but forgot the photo.

Pound garlic and black beans together and cook with 1/4 cup of stock in a small pot until the beans are soft. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and sauté the green pepper and cauliflower florets for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup stock, cover, and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Remove and set aside.

Add another 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the chicken pieces for a couple of minutes. Add 1/4 cup stock and cook until all the pieces turn white. Place in a separate bowl and set aside.

Fry the black bean sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil for one minute. Add the chicken and 1/4 cup stock. Cover and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the vegetables, sherry, and salt.

Mix well.

Heat through and serve with rice.

I also like to serve extra fermented beans, because they’re so good!

Lobster and Haddock Casserole

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This post was challenging for me to begin writing, which is not typically an issue. It’s just that so many memories came flooding back to me from when we were in Maine in October of 2021. But that’s exactly how this post came about, from an incredible day on a lobster boat.

Having never been to Maine before, a guide from Experience Maine recommended various activities, and one was spending a day with Linda Greenlaw on her working lobster boat. The day would end with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a lobster feast. I was certainly excited about dinner, but I knew the day would also be educational.

So, who is this Linda Greenlaw? This can’t be answered in one sentence. She is a daughter of a lobster fisherman, born and raised in Maine, lives on Isle au Haut, and certainly one claim to fame is being America’s only female swordfishing captain.

Here she is – small but mighty – second from the left.

From her website, Linda Greenlaw Books, Greenlaw first came to the public’s attention in Sebastian Junger’s book The Perfect Storm, where Junger called her “one of the best captains … on the entire east coast.” She was also portrayed in the movie The Perfect Storm, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

But it doesn’t end there. She also wrote the following books:
The Hungry Ocean, 1999, about her life as a swordfishing captain.
The Lobster Chronicles, 2001, about her life on a very small island.
All Fishermen are Liars, 2004, true stories from real fishermen.
Seaworthy, 2010, an inspirational story of her return to the sea.
Lifesaving Lessons, 2013, a memoir about her experience as an “accidental mother”.

Then, Ms. Greenlaw wrote mystery books! Here I’ve photographed 3 of many…

Because this is a food blog, I’ll get to yet another one of Linda Greenlaw’s achievements. Actually, two. Here are cookbooks written with her mother Martha, on regional Maine cuisine. Recipes from a Very Small Island was published in 2005, and The Maine Summers Cookbook, in 2011. Now do you see how I wasn’t too sure how to start writing about Linda?! She does everything!

The actual name of this recipe, one of her mother’s, is Head Harbor Lobster & Haddock Casserole. And I guess if you are married to a lobster fisherman, you get very creative with lobster!

Or, just serve it steamed. On a boat. As the sun sets.

Head Harbor Lobster and Haddock Casserole
Serves 10-12

2 pounds haddock filets
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup white flour
3 cups half and half
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 ounces medium-dry sherry
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 pound, about 3 cups, diced cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the haddock in a skillet, add water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, break the fish into small chunks.

I ordered lobster tails so I prepared the meat by boiling them for 1 minute per ounce, placed in iced water, then removed the meat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium to medium-high heat, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the half and half, bring to a boil, and cook, whisking for 1 minute. Whisk in the ketchup, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Whisk in the sherry and parsley and season with salt. The sauce will be very thick at this point; it will thin out with the addition of the seafood.

In a large bowl, combine the haddock and lobster meat with the sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Transfer to the prepared dish, sprinkle with the crumbs, and drizzle with melted butter.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

I served the casserole with a cherry tomato salad in a zingy parsley vinaigrette with capers.

I love the flavors of the bechamel in this casserole. They were spot on. And what a delight to enjoy the fresh haddock and lobster in this way.

A nice green salad, perhaps with a lemon dressing, would also be good.

Alsatian Gugelhopf

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This recipe is another one that I copied from a cookbook checked out from our local library maybe 30 years ago, and pasted on an index card. I have no idea what its origin, but I know there are many similar variations of festive gugelhopf and kugelhopf from France and Germany, with many different spellings, and probably in many more countries. In fact, it’s not too different from Italy’s Panettone or Pandulce, as far as ingredients go.

This particular recipe is a moist yeasted sweet bread with dried fruits, topped with nuts. Obviously, there can be many variations. I made this one specifically for Christmas morning, so I used only dried tart cherries and pistachios.

Alsatian Gugelhopf

1 cup dried tart cherries, cut in half if they’re large, about 5 ounces
1/2 cup golden raisins, about 2 1/2 ounces
4 tablespoons Kirsch or ruby port
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry yeast
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon orange oil
3 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup tepid whole milk
3 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup ground pistachios or almonds

Mix the dried fruits and the Kirsch in a medium bowl. Do not be tempted to add any more Kirsch; it could kill the yeast. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to dissolve. Let sit for 10 minutes or until yeast foams to top.

In large bowl beat 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, zest, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Add yeast mixture, milk, and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth.

Add in plumped fruits and gradually add remaining flour and beat until dough forms.

Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Butter a 10-cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the nuts, tilting pan to coat bottom and sides.

Spoon dough into pan. Cover with plastic wrap and damp towel. Let dough rise in warm place for 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake about 35 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Turn onto rack to cool.

If desired, make a glaze for the Gugelhopf by combining 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of Kirsch and 1 tablespoon of cream. Whisk until smooth, then pour over the cake.

Personally, I don’t love powdered sugar glazes, and this bread is sweetened already, but I made a glaze for half the gugelhopf.

I love gugelhopf slightly toasted with butter.

Bitter Greens with Manchego and Cranberry Dressing

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Because this is a festive salad, I just had to squeeze it in before the end of 2021. I made it for Thanksgiving, and it’s truly unique. I had no problem making it a second time!

The recipe, from Bon Appetit, is called Bitter Greens with Cranberry Dressing. What initially caught my attention was how pretty the salad is.

It’s a mixture of bitter greens, with parsley, mint, shaved Manchego cheese, glazed pecans, and a lemony cranberry dressing, made with canned cranberry sauce. You can bet that this was the first time I ever bought canned cranberry sauce.

Because of timing, I purchased glazed/candied pecans, even though they are so easy to make. I used really good Manchego cheese, and bought the best bitter greens I could find.

Bitter Greens with Cranberry Dressing

3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 – 14 ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
6 heads of green and/or red endive, quartered
2 heads of frisée, torn into similar sizes
4 ounces Manchego, shaved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix raw sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a bowl. Add pecans and toss to coat. Spread pecans out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until sugar is bubbling, 6-8 minutes, then continue to bake 3 minutes longer to allow sugar to caramelized. Let cool; break into small pieces. Or, buy some already glazed pecans.

Whisk cranberry sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, and 5 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl to combine. Season cranberry dressing with salt.

Whisk parsley, mint, vinegar, and remaining 7 tablespoons oil in a large bowl to combine; season herby dressing with salt and pepper. Add endive and frisée to bowl and toss to coat. (I didn’t include the mint because you just never know who likes what!) Do this just before serving, although I don’t mind a little wilting.

Arrange salad on a platter and drizzle some cranberry dressing over. Top with Manchego and candied pecan pieces.

Serve with remaining cranberry dressing alongside.

This salad is incredible. You could make the dressing with leftover cranberry sauce, or simply make a lemon dressing. The combination is spectacular.

Serve with a creamy pasta or crepes for a perfect lunch or light dinner.

Slow-Baked Citrus Salmon

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This dish is adapted from Alison Roman’s recipe in the New York Times, called Slow Roasted Citrus Salmon with Herb Salad. My sister made it when we were both visiting our mother, and I loved it so much I had to make it myself.

The major adaptation is the change from 2 cups of herbs in the “salad,” as listed in the original printable recipe below, to sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary added to the salmon before slow roasting; parsley is sprinkled for serving.

From the author, “This is truly the best way to cook salmon. Slowly roasting an already fatty fish in an even more luxurious fat (here, olive oil) makes it nearly impossible to overcook. Plus, you can flavor that oil with whatever you fancy — spices, herbs, citrus, chiles — which, in turn, will flavor the fish.”

There is actually so much olive oil in the original recipe that the resulting salmon reminds me of a confit. I cut the 1 1/2 cups of oil to 1 cup, and used a regular lemon and orange for the citrus.

When my sister first told me about this recipe, I thought it would be perfect in the spring or summer. But I rethought it, and everybody needs some citrus in the winter to brighten their days! And, prevent scurvy.

Since I’m the only salmon lover in my immediate family, I only used two salmon filets.

Slow-Baked Citrus Salmon
Printable recipe below

4 salmon fillets, skin on or off, about 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
Sprigs thyme and rosemary
1 cups olive oil
Chopped parsley, for serving
Flaky sea salt, for serving

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place in a large baking dish with sliced lemons and oranges, plus sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary.

Drizzle everything with olive oil and bake until salmon is just turning opaque at the edges and is nearly cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. These filets were thin, so 20 minutes was perfect.

To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and flaky salt.

Add some cayenne pepper flakes and/or coarsely ground multicolor peppercorns over the warm citrusy oil and serve with crusty bread.

I actually think dipping the bread in the citrussy oil with cayenne and salt was my favorite part of this meal!

The whole idea of salmon served with a salad is a good one, I just don’t want it to be only herbs. A favorite recipe I’ve made is Bobby Flay’s hot-smoked salmon with an apple, cherry, and hazelnut salad.


 

 

Sourdough Stuffing with Ham and Pears

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I have saved this recipe for years, from back when I’d photocopy recipes from library cookbooks. So unfortunately I can’t offer up the recipe creator or cookbook source.

For me, this was a perfect recipe to learn early on in my cooking “career” that stuffings or dressings can be quite varied. They don’t have to be big blobs of wet bread, or dry dressings made from purchased stale cubes of bread.

The sourdough bread base is one difference with this stuffing, but the highlights are the bacon, ham and pears. The pears add subtle flavor but mostly moistness to the stuffing.

This could be served as a lovely side to a pork tenderloin, but certainly at Thanksgiving time. If you want it more festive, you can add dried cranberries and walnuts.

Sourdough  Stuffing  with  Ham  and  Pears

1 – 1 pound loaf sourdough bread, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces, approximately 12 ounces after trimming
2 ounces butter
3 ounces double smoked bacon, cut into 1/4” pieces
3 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 large celery bunch, with leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 pound smoked ham, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 large pears, cored, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine
Salt
Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 and gently toast the bread cubes on a large baking sheet, turning them over as necessary. It should take about 20-25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Set aside to cool.

Melt the butter, then cook the double-smoked bacon for a minute. Add the shallot, celery, garlic, and thyme and sauté for about 15 minutes, or until everything is fairly soft.

At this point, you could add some Cognac or Armagnac or Calvados and flambé the mixture, but I didn’t this time.

Add the ham and cook with the bacon and vegetables for a few minutes, then add the pears and parsley.

Combine this mixture with the bread cubes in a large bowl, and pour the broth and wine over the stuffing.

Toss gently, occasionally, for about 30 minutes for the bread to absorb the liquid; taste for seasoning.

Bake the stuffing in a greased 9 x 13” baking dish, covered with foil, for one hour. I only baked half of the stuffing, and used a 9″ square baking dish.

The other half I stuffed in a chicken and roasted.

If you wish for more browning, remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes.

The whole amount of stuffing is a perfect volume for a 15 pound turkey.

I sliced the roast chicken and served with the stuffing and some tomato jam.