Squash, cranberry, and pecan stuffing

Even though the Millennium Park tree is lit, there are lights going up left and right, and on *certain* radio stations there is Christmas music….Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. If you need a delicious take on the traditional stuffing, make this sweet, savory, and scrumptious recipe that easily feeds 8 people. Let’s get into it:

Squash cranberry pecan stuffing

The Recipe:

  • About 1.5 loaves of Vienna bread (or Brioche or French), cubed and toasted in the oven until crunchy but not brown (it takes 15ish minutes in a 350° oven)
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2T butter
  • 1t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1T dried thyme
  • Cayenne, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • A large baking dish
  • A 400° oven
  • About 2 hours of your time


Get the onion into a shallow pan with the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and a generous grinding of black pepper, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized. You’re looking for very soft, very light brown onions. It will take about 25 minutes. While these are going…

…in a medium sized pan or pot, heat up 2T olive oil and get the butternut squash cubes in there. Toss with a serious amount of black pepper (a hefty tablespoon), 2t salt, 1/2t cayenne*, and 1t garlic powder. Cook over medium or medium-high heat until nicely browned on all sides. The center of the squash should not be fully cooked, but you want good, deep brown color on the outside.

Toss about half the bread cubes into your baking dish in a nice layer and top with half of the onion, half of the squash, half the cranberries, and half the pecans (easy, yeah?) Sprinkle with, you guessed it, half the thyme. Repeat the layers. Carefully pour 1 and a half cups of stock in the dish, wrap the whole thing in foil, and get it in the oven. After 30 minutes, add a scant cup of stock to the dish and re-wrap it with the foil. Give a gentle push on the foil to sort of smoosh everything down into the stock that’s at the bottom.

After this bakes for an hour, remove the foil, add about another 1/2 cup of stock, and bake for another 30 minutes. If it looks too dry, add more stock (but check the bottom to make sure the bottom isn’t super mushy). Serve warm :o) Enjoy!

*cayenne is to taste. If you don’t like things spicy, omit this. If you like spice but prefer crushed red pepper, do that. Casually take into consideration the preferences of your guests

A couple things:

  1. If you have no vegetarians….Cook up some sweet or spicy sausage and add to this stuffing. I’d recommend about half a pound or a bit more. Also, use chicken bone broth instead of vegetable stock. Bone broth, if I’m being honest, should be homemade. The carton of bone broth isn’t what you’re looking for–bone broth should congeal into a nasty-looking Jell-O-y substance when it’s cool. This is because all that good collagen that comes out when you boil bones for 6-8 hours
  2. Use toasted cornbread (and decrease the stock a little bit) if you want add a little more sweetness.
  3. Use PRETZEL BREAD if you’re feeling super fancy. Awww yeah.
  4. Make this up to three days in advance and keep in the fridge. About an hour before you need it, let it sit on the counter to come up to room temperature, then pop in your oven with the rest of whatever you’re making in there.

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