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Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Editor’s Note & Disclosure: Jones Dairy Farm provided me with the ingredients to create the recipe reviewed in this post. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m giving thanks today for a lot things in my life and feeling blessed to be able spend time with family this weekend. I always look forward to my mom’s cooking and baking, she makes the best sweet potatoes, turkey, and pies. Most of what I’ve learned about cooking and baking has been a result of my mom’s fantastic advice and of course letting me experiment on my own, preparing different dishes when I was growing up.

Table

I was trying to decide what I would bring to Thanksgiving dinner this year when I received an opportunity to prepare a stuffing recipe created with Jones Dairy farm products. A Wisconsin company, Jones Dairy farm has been in business for about 126 years and makes high-quality ham, bacon and breakfast sausage. As a dietitian I primarily focus on leaner cuts of meat for my daily meals, although I have to say that I do love a slice of bacon every once in awhile. A little bacon can go a long way in regards to adding another dimension of flavor to a dish. That’s what Jones Dairy Farm bacon did to elevate the flavor of the Thanksgiving stuffing that we had with our meal this year.

Jones Bacon

Special Nutrition Note: Jones Dairy Farm product-line includes gluten-free options like gluten-free turkey sausage as well as gluten-free bacon. You may be thinking, isn’t meat always gluten-free? The easy answer is yes. Although, when it comes to sausage and bacon, all products are not gluten-free because some are made with gluten-containing additives.  For example, some bacon products utilize artificial liquid-smoke which may not be gluten-free if they use barley malt flour as a ‘carrier’ for the smoke. This is definitely important for individuals with celiac disease to check before consuming a product.

Brussels Sprouts, Jones Bacon and Cranberry Stuffing

Finished Stuffing

This stuffing recipe caught my eye because it is loaded with two of my favorite vegetables, brussel sprouts and leeks! My sister and father aren’t brussel sprout lovers and even they loved this sweet and salty version of stuffing with their turkey. The recipe was simple to make and definitely a crowd pleaser and created by Vicky Cassidy for the Stuffing and More campaign.

Ingredients:

4 cups sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (8 oz) package Jones Dairy Farm Dry Aged Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced thin
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Tyranena Brewing Company Rocky’s Revenge beer (or similar brown ale)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken broth

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Spread bread cubes onto large baking sheet in a single layer and bake until lightly golden brown, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

In large saucepan, cook bacon over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to crisp up and fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon fat from saucepan and discard the rest.

Reduce heat to medium. Add leeks to bacon fat and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms release juices, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn heat to high; add beer and cook until liquid reduces by about half.

Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add in vegetables, bacon, oregano (Note: I didn’t have oregano and substituted sage), thyme, parsley, cranberries, and eggs. Stir to combine.

Transfer stuffing to 8x11x2-inch baking dish. Evenly pour stock over entire dish.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I hope you were able to spend some quality time with family and friends today and reflect on all the things that you are thankful for in your life. Mealtime can be a great time to reconnect with those that we love, even if it is peanut butter and jelly sandwich and not a thanksgiving feast. Hopefully, that is one tradition that you can continue beyond the holiday season.


 

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