Take your family’s taste buds on a delicious trip to Italy this Thanksgiving with our Italian mother-in-law dressing inspired by Bon Appétit. Featuring bold Italian favorites, such as Swiss chard, green olives, pine nuts, golden raisins, and red pepper flakes, this is a holiday dressing that will make mouthwatering memories at the table.
A good holiday dressing starts with a good Italian bread. Visit your local bakery and buy a lip-smacking good Italian loaf. You need 1 pound of bread for the stuffing; we suggest buying more just so you can swipe bites of bread into olive oil and into your mouth while you’re cubing the loaf for the dressing.
Stuffing or dressing? When it comes to the most loved Thanksgiving side dish on the table, stuffing ranks the top. Scrumptiously irresistible with mouthfuls of belly-filling bread and an appetizing assortment of other tasty ingredients, no Thanksgiving table would be complete without this must-eat accompaniment for the turkey. But what about dressing? How does that differ from stuffing? It really depends on who you talk with!
Culinary purists call it “stuffing” when it is cooked inside the cavity of the roasting turkey and call it, more accurately, “dressing” when it is baked in a dish by itself. On the other hand, regionally proud Northerner cooks prefer to call the dish “stuffing” while soul-food-loving Southern cooks refer to it as “dressing.” In our humble Thanksgiving opinion, we’d rather just make the stuffing or dressing and gobble it up without worrying about how to label it. We hope you will too! After all, Thanksgiving is a feast for giving thanks, not getting into holiday dish debates.
Stuff the bird. If your mother-in-law or family tradition insists you stuff the turkey, you can adapt this recipe by using the stuffing to loosely stuff your turkey. Depending on the size of the bird, you may not fit all the stuffing inside the cavity of the turkey. Loosely stuffing it will ensure it evenly heats through to the center of the stuffing while the turkey roasts. Your stuffing needs to reach 165°F before it’s ready to eat. Simply bake leftover stuffing in a smaller baking dish on the side.
Note: A stuffed turkey requires a longer roasting time in the oven. You may have to cover your turkey with foil during the last hour of roasting to adequately cook the stuffing without burning or overcooking the turkey.
Place the golden raisins in a bowl and add one cup of chicken broth. Set aside for 30 minutes. Soaking the raisins in broth will make them plump and juicy.
Sauté Swiss chard in olive oil
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and cook, stirring constantly, until the chard is soft and wilted. Transfer the cooked chard to a bowl and set aside.
Cook onions and garlic
In the same skillet, heat remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 cup of butter. When the butter is melted, add diced onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in vinegar and sugar, cooking until almost all the vinegar is evaporated, about 5 minutes. The vinegar and sugar will caramelize the onions.
Combine bread cubes with chard and onions
Place dried Italian bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the cooked chard and onion mixtures, stirring to combine.
Add remaining stuffing ingredients
Pour the raisins and soaking liquid into the bread mixture. Add olives, pine nuts, Italian seasoning, fresh rosemary, salt, and red pepper flakes. Gently stir the ingredients to combine. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together remaining 1-1/2 cups of broth and the eggs. Pour this mixture into the bread mixture and fold the broth mixture into the stuffing ingredients to moisten.
Butter a casserole dish and bake the stuffing
Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter all over the inside of a casserole dish. Transfer the stuffing into the baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 160°F. If you prefer a crisp topping on the stuffing, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Let the dressing rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
2-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided one cup and 1-1/2 cups
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided two tablespoons and four tablespoons
1 bunch red Swiss chard, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus two tablespoons, divided
2-1/2 cups diced onions
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pound your favorite Italian bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (about ten cups), dried out overnight
1 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
4 ounces pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, combine raisins and one cup of broth. Let the raisins soak for 30 minutes to soften.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add Swiss chard leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Transfer chard to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 cup butter in the same skillet used to cook the chard. When butter is melted, add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for ten minutes or until onions are just beginning to brown.
Stir in vinegar and sugar. Cook for five minutes or until the vinegar is almost evaporated.
Meanwhile, place bread cubes in a large bowl. Add wilted chard leaves and onion mixture to the bread.
Add raisins with soaking broth, olives, pine nuts, Italian seasoning, rosemary, salt and red pepper flakes. Gently fold ingredients into bread mixture until thoroughly combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1-1/2 cups broth and eggs. Gently fold broth mixture into the bread mixture until thoroughly combined.
Using the remaining two tablespoons of butter, coat a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Transfer the dressing mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Cover with foil.
Bake until a thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160F, about 40 minutes. Remove foil during the last ten minutes if you prefer dressing with a crispy topping.
Remove the dressing from the oven and allow it to rest five minutes. Serve hot.