Pear and Sausage Stuffing

Whether you are a “stuffing” or a “dressing” kind of person, pears add a magical twist when served alongside your holiday bird. Because they are sautéed and then baked, the pears are meant to be meltingly soft in this side dish, and any variety will do. Sausage adds a piquant kick, and don’t skimp on those fresh herbs. Consider this recipe another delicious vehicle for getting pears on your Thanksgiving table.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing and brushing

1 (20-ounce) loaf white bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

12 ounces mild Italian pork sausage (casings removed if the sausage is in links)

2 ripe USA Pears, stemmed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade turkey stock

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 3-quart casserole dish with butter.

Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned, 12 to 20 minutes (depending on the moisture content of the bread). Combine the toasted bread cubes, parsley, and sage in a large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the pears and continue cooking until they are just soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the pepper, and bring it to a simmer. Pour the contents of the pan over the bread cubes and toss until evenly moistened. Taste and add salt as needed.

Loosely pack the dressing into the prepared dish and cook, uncovered, until the top forms a deep crust, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Want more pear-a-licious Thanksgiving recipes? Click HERE!

Pear, Roasted Carrot, and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf

pear quinoa pilaf

Fall is in the air, and all types of fresh pears are arriving at local grocers. This pear and quinoa pilaf makes a healthy and filling side dish or lunch. I love finding new ways to use quinoa, and roasted carrots and ginger make a wonderful savory contrast to the honey sweetness of the pears in this dish. Try this recipe with small and colorful Seckels if you can find them, but if not, any firm-ripe pear will do!

Ingredients
2 cups multicolored carrots, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Half an orange, zest and juice
6 firm-ripe Seckel USA Pears (or substitute 2 large pears), sliced or diced
¼ cup roasted and salted pistachios
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the diced carrots in a small baking dish and toss with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned on the edges. While the carrots roast, place the quinoa, broth, and ginger into a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 8 – 11 minutes, or until quinoa is just tender. Uncover and allow any extra liquid to evaporate, stirring often. Remove the quinoa from the heat.

When the carrots come out of the oven, stir them into the quinoa along with all of the remaining oil from the roasting pan. Add the zest and juice from the orange half, the pear slices, and the pistachios. Stir together gently and season to taste. Serve the pilaf warm or allow to cool—the combination is wonderful served at room temperature as well.

prep time: 30 minutes
yield: 6 servings

German Pancake with Caramelized Pears

german_pancake_caramelized_pears-013 SM

This large pancake puffs up in the oven but quickly deflates. Anjou pears hold their shape beautifully and add plenty of flavor to this breakfast entrée.

Ingredients              
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 Anjou (Red or Green) USA Pears, peeled, cored, and sliced, about 3 cups
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
Powdered sugar

Directions 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs then add the milk, flour, vanilla, and salt. Continue whisking until batter is smooth.

Melt the butter in a cast iron or ovenproof 10-inch skillet. Add the pears and cinnamon and cook, stirring gently, until the pears begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pears will still be somewhat firm.

Pour the batter evenly over the top of the pears. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the edge of the pancake begins to turn brown and puffs, about 15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and sift powdered sugar on top using a sifter or fine mesh strainer. Slice into quarters and serve immediately.

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: About 25 minutes
yield: Serves 4

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Kale and Pear Salad with Lime-Yogurt Dressing

kale and pear salad with lime-yogurt dressing

I’ve been dreaming about how I could create a kale and pear salad for some time now, and I think I’ve come up with the perfect combination. If you’ve yet to find a kale salad you love, try making this one, which calls for baby kale, the young, tender leaves of the plant. Toss the baby kale with sweet, ripe pears and my lime yogurt dressing, and then add texture and color with freeze-dried corn, salty pumpkin seeds, crumbled cotija cheese, and the bright pop of pomegranate seeds. If you find fresh pomegranates are unavailable, use freeze-dried seeds – you can often find a small section with a variety of freeze-dried fruits and veggies at a natural foods store. Store them in your pantry, and you’ll be enjoying this salad all summer long!

Ingredients
Dressing
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
⅓ cup grapeseed oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Salad
5 ounces baby kale
2 firm ripe USA Pears, such as Bartlett, Red Anjou, or Green Anjou
⅓ cup freeze-dried corn
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds (without hulls)
⅓ cup crumbled cotija cheese
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Directions
For the dressing: Place all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.
For the salad: Set aside about half of the cotija cheese and the pomegranate seeds for garnish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently with about ⅔ of the dressing. Reserve the remaining dressing for drizzling on the salad, if desired. Sprinkle the tossed salad with the crumbled cheese and the pomegranate seeds and serve.

Pear and Maple Breakfast Sausage

pear maple breakfast sausage

If you’ve tried my recipe for Braised Pork with Pears and Sherry Vinegar, you know that pears and pork are truly magical together. Savory-and-sweet is a classic combination any time of day, but I think breakfast is my absolutely favorite meal for combining the two. If you’re anything like me when it comes to breakfast, you waffle (HA!) when deciding whether to go the sweet or savory route. Well, now you can have both delightful tastes with my Pear and Maple Breakfast Sausage. These sausages are extremely simple to make, they freeze well, and they cook up like a dream—crispy edges, tender centers, and a burst of juicy, sweet pear in every bite. Try them alongside French toast on a Sunday or with eggs and fresh pear slices for a simple breakfast.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for frying sausages
½ small red onion, small dice
1 pound ground pork
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
2 or 3 shakes of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
1 firm-ripe USA Pear, such as Red Anjou, medium dice

Directions
Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced red onion and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, maple syrup, hot sauce, salt, pepper and the browned onions. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly to distribute the seasonings. Lastly, add the diced pears, mixing them in as gently as possible.

Form the mixture into 10-12 sausage patties. Lightly moistening your hands will help prevent the sausage from sticking to you. At this point, some of the sausage patties may be stored in zip-top bags and frozen.

To cook the sausage patties, fry them in a thin layer of canola oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes per side. Check the centers for doneness. If the sausages are not cooked all the way through, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan for an additional 5 minutes.

Crispy Pork Cutlets with Fresh Pear Sauce

crispy_pork_cutlets_pear_sauce-046

This recipe was inspired by two classic dishes: Schnitzel, the crispy, thinly pounded cutlets so popular in Germany, and the classic all-American combination of pork, applesauce (or in this case, pear sauce), and sour cream. This recipe makes for a delicious and warming winter dinner, and it’s perfect served with a simple steamed or roasted vegetable – I highly recommend Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients
Pear Sauce
3 ripe USA Pears, such as Red Bartlett, Anjou, or Comice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Pork
4 pork cutlets, 4 – 5 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
Equal parts butter and olive oil for frying

Directions
For the pear sauce: Roughly chop two of the pears and place them into a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, and salt, and cover. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the pears have released a lot of their liquid. Once the mixture is liquidy, uncover and increase the heat to medium high. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened. Lastly, dice the remaining pear and gently stir it into the sauce. Set aside, covered, until ready to use.

For the pork: Place the pork cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them until they are ⅛-inch thick. If you don’t have a proper meat pounder, a rolling pin or an empty wine bottle will do. Once the cutlets are nice and thin, season them lightly on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside. Next, place flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs into three separate containers large enough to dip the cutlets into. To bread the cutlets, first dip in the flour, coating as evenly as possible and shaking off any excess. Then dip the floured cutlet into the egg mixture, coating both sides, and lastly into the breadcrumbs, which will stick easily to the egg. Place the cutlets aside while you prepare for frying.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add approximately equal parts butter and olive oil—just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to a depth of ⅛-inch. Fry the cutlets in the hot fat one at a time, for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. As the finished cutlets come out of the pan, transfer them to the warm oven while you cook the others. You will need to add a bit more butter and oil between each cutlet.

Sprinkle the cooked cutlets with a little more salt to finish and serve with the warm, fresh pear sauce and a spoonful of sour cream.

yield: Serves 4