pork and leek stuffing

sausage and leek stuffing

Pork and leek stuffing is a delicious, savory companion for Thanksgiving turkey, roast chicken, or a tender roast beef. My recipe uses ground pork with the perfect blend of spices to mimic the flavors of prepared sausage. Taking the time to use your own spice blend allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and the spiciness of the mixture. This is my go-to Thanksgiving stuffing but it goes really well with any winter holiday menu.

pork and leek stuffing

I was six years old when my parents moved from Germany to the states. My first introduction to Thanksgiving occurred a month after my family had settled in California. We went to my uncle’s house for [what I later discovered was Thanksgiving] dinner and I was shocked to find a table full of foreign foods and aromas. Everything smelled and looked delicious (especially the sweet potato casserole covered in toasted marshmallows) but there was one new food on the table that I was unwilling to try. Placed next to the turkey was a casserole dish filled with a brownish, beige mixture that people referred to as “stuffing”. As a six-year-old with a sweet tooth this concept certainly didn’t appeal to me. Plus, I heard murmurings of gizzards or turkey neck being cooked together to make the concoction so I steered clear of that particular dish.

Year after year I began to look forward to my new favorite holiday. Hanging out with my cousins and eating delicious food that my Persian household didn’t eat any other time of year; it was heaven. Each year was a bit different but one thing remained the same, I never went near the stuffing. One year I was feeling particularly brave. I had just turned thirteen and decided to expand my pallete and try the stuffing that everyone was raving about.

I reluctantly plopped the bready slop on my plate and unenthusiastically lifted the fork to my mouth. One bite and I was blown away! The flavors were so complex yet comforting, savory and totally balanced. I took another bite, this time with a bit of cranberry sauce on my fork…delicious. I couldn’t believe how many years I’d wasted not eating this stuff. That Thanksgiving taught me a valuable lesson about the merits of stepping out of your comfort zone. Think of all the stuffing I missed out on!

Now that I cook my own meals this pork and leek stuffing has become my go-to recipe. It’s exactly what stuffing should taste like (in my opinion) without the embellishment of dried fruits or nuts. This is a classic holiday stuffing and I hope you try it for your own family meal. I know I will since I have years of stuffing loss to make up for!

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pork and leek stuffing

pork and leek stuffing


  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1, 1.5 lb Loaf sourdough, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + extra for greasing the pan 
  • 1 pound ground pork 
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1  teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds 
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme 
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted 
  • 2 medium Yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 Leeks, cleaned and trimmed (white and light green parts only)
  • 4 stalks Celery, diced 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium 
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

Day before: 

  1. Cut sourdough into cubes, as small or large as you like. I prefer ½ inch cubes. 
  2. Lay the cubes out onto rimmed baking sheets, keep on the counter or in a cold oven overnight to dry out. 

Day of:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Grease a 13X9 casserole dish with olive oil. Set Aside.
  3. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil  in a large dutch oven or sautee pan over medium heat. 
  4. Add ground pork and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. 
  5. Add the garlic, red chili flakes, fennel seeds, thyme, sage, and nutmeg. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. 
  6. Remove the cooked pork and seasoning from the pan and transfer to a large bowl. 
  7. Add the butter to the now empty pan, and melt over medium heat. 
  8. Add the onions, leeks, and celery to the pan along with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. 
  9. Cook until the onions and leeks are translucent and the celery is soft, 6-8 minutes. 
  10. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, simmer until the liquid has evaporated. 
  11. Add the seasoned ground pork back to the pan with the vegetables. Toss to combine, turn off the heat. 
  12. Add the bread cubes to the pot of pork and vegetables, toss to fully combine. Note: I transfer everything to a large bowl and cover my hands with food safe gloves to easily combine the bread and seasoned pork. 
  13. Transfer the bread, sausage, and vegetable mixture to the greased serving dish and spread evenly in the dish. 
  14. Mix the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and eggs together in a large bowl. Whisk to fully combine.
  15. Pour the egg and  broth mixture over the bread, moistening every part of the stuffing.  
  16. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Bake the covered casserole for 30 minutes. 
  17. Remove the foil topping and bake until the top of the stuffing is browned and crisp, 5-10 minutes.  
  18. Serve hot or warm. 

Notes

If you don’t have time to cube and dry out sourdough bread you can use storebought stuffing without the herb packet that it comes with. 

Other Thanksgiving recipes you might enjoy!

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