It feels surreal to be talking holiday meals, but it is that time of year already. Earlier this month, I developed the November recipe for jojotastic.com with it being a thanksgiving side dish in mind. Thanksgiving sides do all the grunt work; they need to be left-over friendly, and most importantly, to me, they need texture! So many sides have been reduced to borderline baby food. Mash potatoes that have been smashed through a ricer or food mill, canned cranberry sauce (don’t get me wrong, I think it’s delicious, but have you tried from scratch?), and stuffing. Ah, stuffing. The hallmark of the holidays. Iconic magazine spreads showing the browned baked up bits spilling out of the turkey’s business end. Yeah, I said it. Often soggy, fussy, and requiring a temperature check (since it is sitting/cooking in your uncooked bird), it’s not the side for my holiday spread. Then enters Dressing. Everything your stuffing could never be, easily made vegetarian for THAT cousin and filled with dynamic texture. Growing up, My family’s traditions were a hybrid of my Italian-American Nana’s cooking and my Grandmother’s traditional Americana style meals. The holiday spreads couldn’t be further from each other, and both had elements I loved. This recipe is my take on my Grandmother’s Dressing. I don’t know the exact ingredients she used; however, the key component that made its mark in my memory is the addition of green pimento-stuffed olives. Strange, I know, but hear me out. The olives act as moist, flavorful, and salty elements that check all the boxes.
This season, I challenge you to give this Dressing recipe a go if you’re a die-hard stuffing person (or even if you’re not). The worst that could happen is that you won’t like it and can be added to the ever-growing list of disappointments from this year. However, I don’t think that’s likely.
Green Olive Dressing
- 1 large Artisan loaf of French bread
- 1 large Yellow onion Diced
- 1/2 cup Celery Heart including leafy center Chopped
- 1/2 cup Leek (cut to the green) Chopped
- 1/3 cup Parsley Chopped
- 3 sprigs Thyme Stems removed
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 1/2-1 cup Stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 Eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup Stuffed green olives about one jar
- 1 tbsp Umami powder *Optional
- salt and pepper To taste
- The night before, cut or tear the loaf into chunks and spread the pieces out on a baking sheet, leaving them to sit overnight or until they are dried out. You can also dry the bread out by placing the baking sheet in a 170-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a medium-size baking dish and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter and add in leeks, celery hearts, onion, and thyme. Heat until the vegetables are fragrant and softened. Pour the bread into the pot and toss to coat evenly; pour the mixture into a large bowl and toss in the egg, coating as evenly as possible.
- Add broth; you may need more than 1/2 cup. The goal is to hydrate the bread but not leave it sitting in liquid. Fold in the chopped olives, sprinkle in the umami powder, season with salt and pepper, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is browned, but making sure the center is still moist.
As always, please tag me in all of the recipes you try. I will be posting some of my other favorite sides later this week!