Holiday Side Dish idea: Pancetta Leek Stuffin’ Muffins

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One of my absolute favorite side dishes to experiment with over the holidays has got to be stuffing. I am always looking for new and creative ways to make stuffing, but usually I just change up the ingredients: toasted chestnuts, smoked chorizo, artichoke hearts…. I’ve basically tried it all. EXCEPT for experimenting with the actual shape in which the stuffing comes in, which is normally some type of ceramic rectangular or oval shaped vestibule of deliciousness. Until one day. While scouring through all of my baking pans looking for my tried and true “stuffing pan”, I got distracted, most likely by Nala or Sammy, only to return back to the kitchen to spot my muffin pan sitting prettily on the counter, just begging to hold the delicious stuffing.  “Please Mrs. Despina, let me try it… just fill up one tin…I’m staaarrving!” Ok, so it wasn’t actually speaking to me, but sometimes it’s fun to pretend. Ok, it’s always fun to pretend in the kitchen. Anyways, a half hour later, and the stuffing muffins were born, and they quickly ousted any other pans in the kitchen from taking a step near any of their future stuffing babies. Hopefully this doesn’t happen in your kitchen, reader, but if it does, I promise that you and your guests’ bellies will be happy.  Now go bust out that muffin pan and get to making some stuffing babies!

 

– 1 lb sourdough bread, cut into ½ “ or smaller cubes

– ½ cup pine nuts, toasted in a small pan for 5-7 minutes

– ¼ cup celery, diced small

– ¼ cup celery leaves, finely diced

-1 cup leeks, finely diced

– ¼ cup finely chopped parsley

-little olive oil for the leeks

–  2 eggs

– 1 cup heavy cream

-salt and pepper to taste

-1 tbs fresh thyme leaves

– ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

– ½ cup asiago

-1/4 cup chicken broth

– ½ lb diced pancetta

-zest of 1 small lemon

-1 cup diced shitake mushrooms

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

 

In a small sauté pan, sauté the leeks in some olive oil for a few minutes until they are translucent. Add the celery, celery leaves and mushrooms, and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, and turn off the heat.

 

In a large baking pan, spread the bread cubes out and toast for 10 minutes.

 

In a large bowl, mix the heavy cream and the eggs. Add the breadcrumbs, pine nuts, pancetta and leek mushroom mixture. Fold in the cheeses, parsley and add salt and pepper.

 

Pour into ungreased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

 

Serve with homemade gravy or plain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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