Thanksgiving was a month ago here in Canada, but it’s still a few weeks away in the US so I think that still makes this a timely recipe. Plus, it’s nice and early for those who do turkey for Christmas!
Stuffing is one of my favourite Thanksgiving dishes. When I set out to re-create and paleoize this dish, I didn’t even consider doing so with some kind of grain-free/gluten-free bread substitute. Instead I thought about the key flavours of stuffing from herbs and spices and focused in on that element of the dish. Using the mushrooms added a nice flavour, but also a similar texture as the chewy bread in a traditional dish.
It may seem like a long list of ingredients, but they’re largely spices and herbs and this recipe actually comes together fairly simply with a little bit of chopping and prep effort. You could use a food processor to make the vegetable prep quicker and easier!
Covered in turkey gravy this stuffing was a fantastic addition to our Thanksgiving meal this year. It hit all the flavours and textures of a bready stuffing and no one was longing for the old bready stand-by. Sorry, bread…you weren’t even missed! Since then we’ve made it again and just eaten it as a main dish for dinner.
Bread-Free Paleo Stuffing – Makes 8-10 servings as a side dish or 4 servings as a main dish.
1 lb ground pork
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
6 stalks celery, chopped
2 small leeks, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh savoury
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Mix the raw pork very well with sausage seasonings. Add to a pre-heated skillet over medium-high heat and cook until pork is browned. If your pork was quite fatty, drain off excess fat before adding to the crockpot. Remove from the pan and add to a large crockpot.
In the same skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add onion, carrots, celery and leeks and sautee for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables just begin to caramelize slightly. Add the stuffing seasonings and cook with the vegetables for about another minute. Remove from the pan and add to the crockpot with the pork.
In the same skillet, melt 3 tbsp butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and sautee until mushrooms are browned. Remove from the pan and add to the crockpot with the pork and vegetables.
If using, add the nuts to the crockpot and stir to combine all ingredients well.
Cook in a crockpot on low for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, you could bake at 400F for 45-60 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.
Substitutions (untested) for the butter could be: ghee, lard, or coconut oil. You could also use a pre-seasoned pork sausage instead of seasoning your own ground pork. Just read those ingredients carefully before buying!