Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tomato-Olive Stuffing

Sometimes it's hard to get into the holiday spirit and I guess this would be one of those times. As a girl from Michigan who was frequently spoiled rotten with a fresh blanket of flakes every few days in December, the adjustment to holiday weather in Seattle has been less than jolly. How am I supposed to feel Christmas in my fingers and my toes when it's a balmy 45 degrees and  the ground is damp with freshly fallen rain drops? Bah! HUMBUG!  

Tonight I went for a long walk by all the fancy houses in Queen Anne while listening to my favorite podcast's holiday episodes. I took pictures of silly houses and a decked out Space Needle! My cheeks got rosy! I even had to put gloves on…  Eventually, I felt some of the spirit slip through me, but I don't have the same urge as in years past to listen to non-stop Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving to the evening of the 25th. I think I might be broken.

No matter, I am preforming some self-therapy and forcing myself to listen to Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album and throwing in the classic Bing Crosby for good measure too. I might even see what holiday offerings Netflix has. No matter what, when I fly into Michigan a week from now, I will be jollier than the man in red himself!

Regardless of if you're a little like me or you're pacifically one of Santa's elves, I'd like to think this stuffing is perfect for the holidays. I personally made it for Friendsgiving (which was ironically a week after real Thanksgiving), which is my mind is one of the greatest holidays of them all! Friends, lots of wine, more food than we know what to do with and college football playoffs? HECK YES! We know how much I love Friendsgiving so we should move onto the stuffing… it's amazing. Completely out of left field and out of the ordinary amazing. After poking around the internet for a few days looking for a stuffing recipe that didn't make me think of a 1950's Christmas television special, I finally came across something that didn't just call for butter and bread. No no, this had olives, tomatoes and rosemary, oh my! Even though I'm positive tomatoes aren't the least bit in season in Seattle, I was able to find a beautiful box of cherry tomatoes ready for roasting.

While Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas is fast approaching.  If you need a dish that reminds you of far-off flavors but in the comfort of your home, look no further. And hey, we can pretend it's totally healthy because it has vegetables in it and stuff.

Tomato-Olive Stuffing
Adapted from The Bitten Word

  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (approx. 8 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced medium
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in middle and lower thirds. On two rimmed baking sheets, arrange bread in a single layer. Toast until dry and pale golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. 
  2. Meanwhile, lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook, stirring frequently, until onion and celery are softened, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, rosemary and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add parsley, eggs, and bread; stir to combine. Add broth in two additions, stirring until absorbed after each addition. Season generously with salt and pepper and transfer stuffing to dish. Bake on middle rack until deep golden brown on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. 
  4. Great for leftovers, both hot or cold!

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