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That’s why I couldn’t wait to share this Apple Shallot Pistachio Stuffing recipe. This stuffing is packed with yummy herbs like sage and thyme, as well as fall apples and dried cranberries. And did I mention there were pistachios? Around our house, it’s hard to ignore any recipe with these delicious nuts.
As you can see from this container of thyme (Thymus vulgaris), we love growing this drought-tolerant herb in pots and garden beds. Thyme and sage (Salvia officinalis) are delicious Mediterranean herbs, which grow well in full sun and ordinary, well-drained soil. Both herbs are easy to grow, and look especially attractive nestled among vegetables as well as ornamental flowers.
Along with attracting helpful pollinators, the flowers on both herbs are edible. I like to use the herbs and flowers in flavored butters, honeys and tisanes, which are herbal infusions used as drinks or medicinal teas.
Thyme features the phytochemical Thymol, which is very antiseptic and used in cold medicines and mouthwashes. This makes the delicious culinary herb ideal for your autumn meals.
Sage has long been renowned for the digestive system, which is one reason why the herb often appears in rich and fatty Thanksgiving meals.
Apple Shallot Pistachio Stuffing
This Apple Shallot Pistachio Stuffing recipe takes advantage of garden-fresh herbs and seasonal fruits to provide a healthy side dish for Thanksgiving and other meals, including turkey leftovers from the big day.
The autumn-inspired stuffing is based on a combination of recipes from different sources, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but I’ve changed everything a bit. For example, I tweaked the quantities, added dried cranberries and substituted dry roasted, unsalted pistachios for walnuts. I encourage you to experiment with different nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts to see what you like best.
For making the bread crumbs, I used an artisan Italian bread that was one day old, so just slightly stale. Once toasted and chopped into cubes, it provided a healthy substitute for boxed bread crumbs. Experiment with different crusty breads to find your personal favorite.
Adding aroma and flavor to the stuffing, the herbs are from my garden, picked right before I started cooking.
7 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup of shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
8 cups cubed bread
2 apples, cored and chopped (option: remove apple peel; we left ours on)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts, shelled, dry roasted but unsalted
1/4 cup thyme leaves
1/4 cup sage
Big dash of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 beaten egg
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (option: vegetable stock)
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic and eventually celery. Cook and stir until soft.
2. In a large bowl, add bread crumbs.
If you make your own bread crumbs, toast bread slices and then slice them into small cubes.
3. Add the shallot mixture to bread, along with apples, cranberries and pistachios. Toss in sage, thyme and paprika. Stir everything carefully, but don’t overdo it. You want the bread to remain rather firm.
4. Here’s where you can be creative! To moisten and season the bread, mix in 1 beaten egg, 4 to 5 tablespoons of melted butter, and enough chicken stock (about 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups) to give everything the right consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing, and follow the cooking instructions provided with your bird.
6. Or, do what we did. Put the stuffing in a well-buttered casserole dish and bake at 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Cook 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil, and 10 minutes uncovered.
Serve this Apple Shallot Pistachio Stuffing with your favorite turkey, chicken or goose dish. Or add a pound or so of sautéed sausage to make a meal in one dish. However you eat this stuffing, our family hopes you enjoy it!