I mentioned last year that we are big fans of stuffing on our Thanksgiving and Christmas table, usually having more than one kind. I was brought up with my mum cooking three or more for Christmas each year, partly as she couldn’t decide on a favorite I think and we all got to like having a few to enjoy both on the day and in the days that followed. Not surprising, I guess, that I seem to be following suit. Given we are such stuffing fans, I often wonder why we don’t have it at other times of year but still I never seem to make it more often. This year I plan to change that, especially as I experiment with more variations on the theme. Such as this Jerusalem artichoke and persimmon stuffing which is so delicious, I’ll definitely be making it again soon.
Variations on stuffing
Stuffing (or dressing as it is sometimes called here) seems to vary a bit in what people understand it as and what it looks like. Bread and herbs seem constant, but most US versions seem to use chunks of bread while in the UK breadcrumbs are more common. I do kind of prefer breadcrumbs, partly as I am more used to it I guess. But the main thing for me is stuffing should be about everything else, not bread. After all you are eating it for the flavor, not the bulk – you hardly need help filling up at Thanksgiving. Meat, vegetables and fruit are all good candidates for ingredients and a variety of flavors is generally good in my mind. This Jerusalem artichoke and persimmon stuffing is definitely all about everything else, with lots of soft, mellow Jerusalem artichokes, sweet, fragrant persimmon and salty, smokey bacon.
It may not be as quick to make as some recipes but it is not difficult and can be made up in advance and then given the final bake either later in the day or the next day. You just peel and steam the Jerusalem artichokes, cook the bacon and onion then add the Jerusalem artichokes, persimmon and bread. Cook a little more then add everything else and bake. The top and bottom crisp up nicely while leaving the middle soft and tender.
The two kinds of persimmons
If you’re not aware, there are two varieties that look a bit different and are different in how you know they are ripe or not. Hachiya persimmon are larger and a bit longer and need to be soft to be ripe otherwise they can taste ‘floury’. Fuyu persimmon look more like a squashed tomato and you can eat them when they are still firm. You can use either in this recipe. You can get away with hachiya persimmon being a little less ripe than you might need for eating raw, but they should still be soft.
Overall this is a delicious stuffing, full of fantastic flavors and textures as well as lovely flashes of color from the persimmon that will make it a great addition to any table, whether for Thanksgiving, Christmas or just because. It will certainly be on our table again soon. In fact, I am pretty sure it’s made the final cut for Thanksgiving (yes I am still not organized to have finally decided, but with so many great dishes to choose from, it’s hard!).
- 14oz/400g Jerusalem artichokes
- 5oz/150g smoked (streaky) bacon
- ½ onion
- approx 9oz/250g persimmons (1-3 depending on size)
- 1½oz/50g bread (a slice)
- 4tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley - a small bunch
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- ½tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C (unless preparing so far in advance - see below).
- Put a few drops of lemon juice into a bowl of water. Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and as you have finished each one, put it into the bowl of water to stop it browning.
- Steam the Jerusalem artichokes until tender to a knifepoint - it can be worth cutting larger ones so them steam more evenly or remove as they are done.
- Meanwhile, cut the bacon into strips and fry in a skillet/frying pan over a medium heat. Dice the onion and once fat starts to render from he bacon, add the onion to the pan.
- Dice the cooked Jerusalem artichokes into a relatively small dice, and cut the persimmon into similar-sized pieces. Cut the bread into small cubes, also a similar size.
- After the bacon and onion have been cooking around 5min, as the onion is softening, add the Jerusalem artichokes, persimmon and bread to the pan. Cook for another couple minutes, remove from the heat and add the parsley, lemon juice, mustard and egg. Stir well so mixed but try not to break up the pieces of veg/fruit.
- Transfer mixture to a baking dish and bake in oven for approx 30-40min until crisp on top. Note you can make up to the point before putting in oven and refrigerate overnight before final cook.