Have you ever tried Pineapple Stuffing?
I had never heard of it until I married my husband. It is a mainstay of all the holiday dinners that my sister in law hosts.
I really do love stuffing. I love the classic version with herbs, celery and onion. I love Sausage, Fig and Cranberry Stuffing. I love stuffing with apples and walnuts or roasted chestnuts and sausage. I love it with white bread and wheat bread and rustic bread and cornbread. (And I will eat it in a box and I will eat it with a fox…lol!)
But, I had never had Pineapple Stuffing. I was intrigued, but it made sense. After all, my sister in law served it with ham, and pineapple and ham are a classic combination, one that I love.
So, I took a nice sized serving and nestled it right next to my sliced ham.
I remember taking my first bite. It was sweet and buttery and pineapple-y. It tasted great with the saltiness of the ham. But, I had never had a stuffing like this one. It was like…dessert!
This is a stuffing that my stuffing averse daughter willingly puts on her plate, the stuffing that my son asks for seconds. (Actually, my son loves all kinds of stuffing, so that doesn’t really count.) But everyone loves it.
It’s kind of like the sweet pineapple slices placed all over a ham, that have been drenched in glaze and caramelize in the oven while the ham bakes, except it’s the stuffing version of that. There’s usually two pans of this stuffing and I don’t think I’ve ever seen leftovers.
And then, one year, my sister in law asked me if I could make the stuffing. The person that normally makes it wasn’t going to be able to do it. (Ok, no pressure.)
So she sent me the recipe and just said to triple or quadruple it. When I got the recipe, I realized why everyone loves it. It’s all butter, sugar, eggs, pineapple and bread. What’s not to like? It’s like a cross between pineapple cake and bread pudding.
When I quadrupled the recipe and realized I needed a dozen eggs, 4 cups of sugar and a pound of butter…I thought I’d better take a smaller serving for myself the next time :/ Stuffing is always a splurge, let’s be honest, but this trumped that.
This post is heavily inspired by that stuffing, but I decided to take a more savory route and while on that path, see if I could reduce, even if only a little, any of my guilt in eating it.
So, I started in a classic way, sauteing chopped celery and onion in a little less butter than the original recipe. I cut the sugar in half and added a little more bread to soak up the flavors.
I added fresh parsley. I went through a few trials changing up ratios of sugar and butter and bread before I achieved my goal.
My final trial resulted in a nicely balanced sweet and savory stuffing that still had plenty of sweetness to be reminiscent of the original recipe, but a stuffing where I could taste all of the flavors of onion, celery and pineapple.
The stuffing stays perfectly moist but has wonderful crispy edges where the bread cubes get toasty. It is a perfect choice to pair with ham or pork dishes.
Here’s the thing though…my taste testers liked every. single. trial. They love the original and they loved every version I made of that original. I was stumped as to which recipe I should post, which version would be the ultimate version?
I think what it comes down to is that pineapple stuffing is simply a winning concept. Personal preference will dictate which will be your favorite. You can add or subtract sugar. Add or subtract butter. Change the quantity of bread you add for a more moist or more dry stuffing.
I’m going to give you the recipe for my sweet and savory version of Pineapple Stuffing, the one that I set out to conquer for this post.
Aaaand, I’m going to give you the quantities for the original sweet version that is a long standing tradition with my husband’s family (see notes for those.) Either way, sweet and savory or just sweet, it’s stuffing, right? So, the answer is always, “Yes,” isn’t it?
I think it is :)
- 6 Tablespoons 3 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery about 2 medium stalks
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion about 1 small onion
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, in it's own juice, not heavy syrup, drained
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf, Italian parsley
- 8 slices sturdy white bread sliced into cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11 x 7 baking dish or 2 quart casserole with cooking spray.
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add celery, onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.
Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl until combined.
Add drained pineapple and parsley and stir to combine.
Add slightly cooled celery/onion/butter mixture and stir to combine.
Add bread cubes and gently toss with a large spoon, bringing the wet mixture from the bottom, up and over the bread repeatedly until all bread cubes are evenly coated. Try not to mash or smash the bread cubes while doing this step.
Lightly spoon the stuffing into prepared baking dish. Evenly distribute in the pan, but do not pack it down.
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes covered. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, an additional 25-30 minutes.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
*I drained the pineapple in a sieve pressing down gently a few times to squeeze out additional juice. You don't have to press it until it's bone dry, just until it's not dripping lots of juice.
*You could also try fresh pineapple, but you may need to add some pineapple juice or veg/chicken broth if it's not a juicy pineapple.
*I used kosher salt, if you use table salt, reduce to 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste.
*If you use salted butter, reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon, or to taste.
*Make sure to use a sturdy white bread. Pillowy light bread will not hold up well to all of this moisture, especially since we are not using stale or toasted bread.
*UPDATE 12-25-16: 1 slice of bread cut into about 1" squares= about 1 heaping cup of fresh bread cubes. I did not pack it into the cup, I just lightly place them.
*If your stuffing is in a dish where the foil will rest on top of it while baking, go ahead and give the foil a little spray with cooking spray to help prevent the stuffing from sticking.
*For the original sweet stuffing, use 1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter (melted), 1 cup sugar, 4 eggs, 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained and 5 slices cubed white bread. Mix together and bake in prepared pan, uncovered, at 350 for about 1 hour.
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