Sourdough Stuffing with Ham and Pears


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

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.

34 thoughts on “Sourdough Stuffing with Ham and Pears

  1. Looks great Mimi. You know stuffing/dressing is virtually unknown in our neck of the woods. I recently served Southern cornbread dressing at our American Thanksgiving party and most of our Swedish guests turned their noses up at it. But, I think your version might be salable. I’ve just added your version to our American Christmas dinner menu that we’ll host on the 25th (we celebrate Christmas on the 24th here)…

    • Very interesting that no one would like it, when I’m sure it tasted wonderfully. Do you think it was the concept that turned them off?

      • I don’t think it was the concept, but more a textural taste thing. Cornbread as made in the US isn’t seen here as well, so that may also have been part of it. They all tasted it, but went for the mashed potatoes instead. Potatoes are the main starch consumed here, so it makes sense. But we also love sourdough bread, thus I’m confident they will like your version, but will likely still go or the mashed potatoes…

  2. Stuffings and dressings really are quite versatile – and they don’t just have to be a Thanksgiving side dish! The ham + pears in this one sound fantastic. I also don’t think I’ve ever used sourdough in a stuffing…I need to try that!

    • It’s a subtle thing, but a fun change to use a different kind of bread. My favorite was when I made a raisin bread for a stuffing.

    • I’ve also made stuffings with raisin bread and pannetone – they’re just so much fun to make! Love the pears in this one.

    • That’s exactly why I loved coming across this recipe years ago. There can be so many different and delicious versions of stuffing, and they’re all worth trying!

  3. You had me at “sourdough.” I love the balance of sweet and savory flavors here, plus the really robust chunks of bread. I can’t stand a mushy stuffing. I’ll have to try this with seitan for the ham!

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