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Grain-Free Stuffing

Thanksgiving just doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without some kind of dressing/stuffing (you can read about the difference between the two here).

Since we’re avoiding gluten and I’m avoiding cow’s dairy this Turkey Day come hell or high water – no meal, no matter how celebratory, is worth how I’ll feel afterwards if I consume either – this has posed something of a problem, especially since I’m not overly fond of sausage stuffings and won’t touch an oyster with a 10-foot pole.  I want my cornbread dressing, darn it!

So, in my desperation, I began formulating a stuffing/dressing recipe using my Savory Almond Flour Muffins (sorry about the nuts, Christi!) following my grandmother’s original recipe.  And it works – to an extent.  It tastes pretty much spot-on; like the cornbread dressing I’ve been making for years and years (I’ve made it so often I don’t even need to glance at the recipe any longer).

The texture, however, leaves a little something to be desired.  Because almonds have a fairly high fat content, the finished product is a bit oily and nut breads just don’t absorb liquid the way a grain-based bread does, so it’s not so much moist as just a tad soupy.  It’s not going to “hold together” the way a grain-based bread stuffing/dressing will, either, but despite these caveats (I don’t want to call them drawbacks) it’s an excellent dish made with wholesome, real ingredients and is certainly an option for those who cannot or will not eat grains, or need a low-carb stuffing/dressing substitute.

Note #1:  You should be able to mitigate the “soupiness” of the dish (which really isn’t that bad) by reducing the amount of chicken stock called for, but don’t eliminate it or the flavor will suffer.  It might “hold together” a little better, too, with the addition of an extra egg.  Don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe to your liking.  Also, I don’t normally add dried cranberries to my dressing but thought they might help add some interest to the dish – and they did – but you can always leave them out.

Note #2: The carb count is with dried unsweetened cranberries; if you add sweetened ones like Craisins, the carb count will triple.  Without any cranberries, the carb count drops to about 8 grams per serving, with about 3 grams of fiber.

Grain-Free Stuffing

Grain-Free Stuffing

serves 8

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and honey. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture, beating lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the almond bread from the dish; set aside and cool completely. Cut into 1″ cubes and allow to sit out, uncovered, overnight until very stale. (Alternately, set the cubes in a 200 F oven for half an hour, stirring every 10 minutes, until dry.)

Melt the bacon fat or butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; sauté the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, but not brown.

Place the cubed almond bread in a large bowl; pour the onion/celery mixture over the almond bread and add the eggs, seasonings and dried cranberries. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring well, until the mixture is very moist. Spread in a baking dish or small roasting pan and bake 30 minutes, or until brown on top and hot all the way through.

Nutrition (per serving): 288 calories, 22.8g total fat, 121.1mg cholesterol, 1825.6mg sodium, 297.2mg potassium, 11.2g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 5.1g sugar, 5.8g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

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