Saturday, September 19, 2009

Holiday Spinach and Oyster Dressing

This is an original recipe that I created. It has been published in the cookbook "American Profile's Hometown Recipes for the Holidays" and also won America's Best Holiday Recipe Contest and was published in American Profile Magazine (the magazine that you find in Sunday newspapers nationwide). I always get requests for this recipe and everyone always loves it (even those who don't like oysters) it's a gourmet twist on holiday stuffing.
Here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy it and make it a part of your holiday meal!

Holiday Spinach and Oyster Dressing


12 cups French or Italian bread, cut into ½ - inch cubes
½ pound Pancetta (Italian bacon) , chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
½ cup leeks, well washed and thinly sliced (white part only)
1 ½ cups celery, thinly sliced
1- 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed, well drained, and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup freshly shucked oysters
2 ½ - 3 cups chicken or turkey stock

The day before, spread bread cubes onto cookie sheets and allow to dry overnight on counter. To save time, bread can also be dried in a 325-degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy skillet, brown Pancetta until crisp. Remove from skillet to paper towels to drain, reserving the oil in the pan. Add olive oil and sauté the onions, leeks, and celery until just tender. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine bread, pancetta, vegetables, spinach, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, and butter. Toss to combine well. Fold in the oysters. Moisten mixture with stock. The bread will absorb quite a bit of the liquid during cooking, so mixture should be very moist.

Transfer dressing to a buttered 9x13 glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until hot all the way through. Remove foil the last 5 minutes of cooking so the top can brown lightly.

Serves 8-10

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