21 November 2011

Cornbread Pumpkin Stuffing Squares with a Side of Tuscan Herbed Roast Pork

Pumpkin Stuffing Squares with a Side of Tuscan Herbed Roast Pork
Cornbreqad Pumpkin Stuffing Squares with a Side of Tuscan Herbed Roast Pork

The holiday season is upon us and with that comes tables groaning with irresistible foods of every description. For me it would be all about portion control which can be a difficult task when faced with such taste tempting treats. For my holiday meals next to my favourite creamy whipped mashed potatoes the stuffing steals the show for this Canadian gal.

Now here comes the age-old debate. Is it stuffing or dressing? I have heard this question posed every year since I was born and the answer is...it depends on where you are from.  That being said, I will continue to call all of my dressings “stuffing” because that is the term I used growing up and it is ingrained in my soul. I usually bake a stuffing inside the bird but today we are cooking with pork so this recipe is perfect for that with its nice crispy edges and moist interior. Whether you choose to call it stuffing or dressing, dressing or stuffing made with cornbread is a popular side dish for Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays. This one steals the show even for those on a gluten- free diet. Also check out suggested wine pairings below from Anthony Garcia.

If you are looking for a change of pace I urge you to try these cornbread stuffing squares which simply put are the best that have ever graced my kitchen. I used a gluten free cornbread mix, because it is what I could find, which in hind site makes this a perfect side dish for those guests on a gluten-free diet as well. This amazing stuffing is baked in the oven with the addition of roasted sugar pumpkin, air dried cornbread, earthy sage and thyme and then cut into squares....for that portion control. On this day it was served with a side of slow-roasted pork with an herbal paste of rosemary, garlic and sage lightly dripping with an aromatic wine gravy and served with crunchy sea salt roasted fingerling potatoes. To round out the meal an autumnal salad...what more can I say.... but Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. There is so much to be thankful for...

**Cornbread Pumpkin Stuffing Squares**
Recipe from Dean Fearing, Mansion at Turtle Creek
  • 1 cup diced pumpkin (from 1 whole small pumpkin)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups diced sweet onions
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sage leaves
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups stale cornbread
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

2. Cut pumpkin in half, and then cut each half into several pieces. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool, peel away skin, and dice. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

3. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, thyme, and sage, and saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Season, to taste, with salt and cracked black pepper.

4. Meanwhile, crumble the stale cornbread into a large bowl. Add sauteed vegetables to the corn bread crumbs. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, beaten egg, and roasted pumpkin and mix well. Then add the chicken stock and mix well.

5. Transfer stuffing into a medium-sized casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

6. To serve, cut stuffing into squares and garnish with a couple sprigs of parsley.

** Herbed Tuscan-Roast Pork**

For the brined pork
  • 3 oz. kosher salt (3/4 cup if using Diamond Crystal; 6 Tbs. if using Morton)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 large sprigs fresh sage
  • One 3-lb. all-natural boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat
 For the herb paste
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 Brine the pork

1. In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, combine the salt, sugar, garlic, and herb sprigs with 2 cups of water. Stir over high heat just until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 6 more cups of water and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large container, add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for 8 to 18 hours.

Make the herb paste:

1. Put the garlic, rosemary, sage, 1 Tbs. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper in a large mortar and pound to a coarse paste with the pestle. Add the oil and use the pestle to work it into the garlic paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor and pulse into a coarse paste.

2. Butterfly and season the pork

3. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry (discard the brine). Butterfly the pork loin by making a horizontal slit down the length of the loin, cutting almost through to the other side. Open the meat like a book. Spread half of the herb paste over the inner surface of the roast; then fold it back to its original shape. Tie the roast at 1-inch intervals with butcher’s twine and then spread the remaining herb paste over the entire outer surface.

4. Place in a roasting pan,, with about 1/2-inch of water and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes at 425F and then lower the oven temperature to 350F to additional 40 minutes. Baste your roast about every 15 minutes. 50-80 minutes or until the meat registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Some roasts are long and thin and others are short and fat, consequently the cooking times will vary depending on the shape of your roast. The meat thermometer is the best way to judge the right amount of cooking time.

5. When done, remove roast from pan and let sit about 10 minutes before carving to let the roast rest and reabsorb it's juices.

6. Remove the roast from the spit if necessary and transfer it to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes, remove the string, and slice thinly. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

7. Make a gravy using the drippings from the roasting pan if you desire. 

Serves 6 - 8

As a new feature here on More Than Burnt Toast I would like to introduce you to Anthony Garcia from Online Graduate Programs who has some insightful tips and suggestions for pairing wines from here in the Okanagan Valley with todays Tuscan Pork Roast and Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing Squares.

A Meal Fit for a King

Looking for something to serve with the beautiful roasted pork with after you follow the recipe from this blog? Whether you are a busy student or home cook, serving the succulent herbed pork dish with a wine that will complement and highlight its lovely flavours will help you savour and enjoy it even more. There are also many regional wineries in the Okanagan Valley to choose from when picking something that will really complete your meal beautifully.

Red wines pair particularly well with pork dishes. The best choices for roasts include a pinot noir, which usually has a subtle to moderate intensity and will hold up to the flavours of the herbs. It is a dry most of the time, and usually has an interesting and often herbal finish with flavours such as mint, basil, thyme, cherries, figs, orange rinds, pine nuts, and wild mushrooms. In other words, the aroma and the flavours in a pinot would go perfectly with the earthy herbal overtones in the herbed pork. An example is Quails Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir, produced from Quails Gate Winery. This wine has plum and cherry overtones with a hint of spice. The plum notes will highlight the sweetness of the pork, while the cherry notes will add tanginess to the herbs.

Another red wine for this meal is Sumac Ridge 2004 Cabernet Merlot. This wine has bright fruity tones, a slightly higher than average alcohol content, and rich oaky tones. It is another dry wine, but is much more assertive than the pinot noir. It is a combination of two different types of wine, cabernet and merlot. The Sumac Ridge wine has earthy tones, which will nicely counterpoint the sweet and unpretentious quality of the pumpkin in the stuffing.

Overall, red wines create a bold paring with the rich flavour of the roast and contrast nicely with the sweetness of the pork, and the corn and pumpkin stuffing. However, they can be a bit strong for some diners, who may prefer a lighter white wine with their meal. A fine gewürztraminer variety can be a superb paring for these people.

Gewurztraminer wines are also quite bold, are sweeter than red wines, and even many whites. They have both fruity notes and earthy, mineral notes, and are highly aromatic and lively. Finding a balanced and bold-bodied gewürztraminer is a very versatile wine that pairs well with roasts and spicy foods. A series of wonderful examples are Sumac Ridge gewürztraminers, ranging in date from 2004 to 2010. The floral notes of this varietal are a wonderful match for bringing out the flavours in the cornmeal from the pumpkin stuffing.

Any of these three wine varietals would be wonderful choices for a meal of herbed pork roast and pumpkin cornbread stuffing. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect wine match, but these suggestions should give the epicure a good jumping-off point to create their own taste combinations, and create a meal fit for a culinary king or queen.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Delicious! I'm doing pork for Thanksgiving this year. I hope it won't disappoint. I have one lone pumpkin on the back porch that I now now to add to my cornbread stuffing!


  2. Am. Drooling. At. Screen. Words. Escape. Me...

  3. Mmmmm, this is the second food blog I've looked at this morning and they've both tempted me with pork recipes. This looks amazing, especially with those cornbread, pumpkin, stuffing squares on the side.

  4. A scrumptious meal! So comforting and mouthwatering. Lovely stuffing.



  5. What a beautiful picture! That meal sounds superb. I love the "portion control" of the pumpkin stuffing, and the pork roast may just be the thing for my early Christmas feast. (How did you figure out the differences in the salt!?)

  6. Stuffing is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving!

  7. I like the ingredients for the cornbread stuffing and your pork roast sounds yummy. From the looks of your photos both look delicious.

  8. Val, that dinner has my mouth watering. Like you I usually call it stuffing whether or not I cook it in the bird or in a casserole dish.


  9. What a delicious and creative dish. It looks wonderful!

  10. Both of these recipes sound wonderful. I bet your house had the aroma of a fine restaurant as they yummy dishes baked!

  11. My family has always called it stuffing too.

    What a mouth watering meal!

  12. If I were allowed to have ANY control over the stuffing that graces our table this year, this would be it!

  13. I think it's stuffing if it's inside the bird, and dressing if it's cooked on the side. Either way, I'd love to be sitting down to this meal.

  14. I`m trying to figure out which is the main here; I could make a whole meal just out of the stuffing (I call it that too). I adore all these flavours of fall.

  15. I can see how this stuffing is one of your best. I prefer a cornbread stuffing. Yes, stuffing. Though, I don't stuff the bird any longer. Instead, I bake mine as a casserole. The pork looks amazing, Val. I love the brine, the paste, the whole works. I hope to add this recipe to one of my dinner menus. We love pork tenderloin.

  16. Wonderful, Val. I love the pumpkin in the stuffing...very unusual!

  17. This is a true feast, Val. The stuffing looks otherworldly good and there will be many takers for second helpings. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. Looks delicious. We're a stuffing family here - only have dressing is some won't fit in the bird. :-)

    BTW - the herb paste for the pork can actually become a nice tuscan dried spice mixture. Our friend Judy, who live sin Tuscany, showed us how to make it during a cooking class in Florence. We chop sage, rosemary, garlic, and plenty of salt - spread it all out on a large cookie sheet - and let it all dry out (turning it regularly). Once dried, it gets popped into a container. It's great with so many thing - we love it on roasted potatoes.

  19. i feel like i just ate my weight in stuffing, but this still looks amazing to me. the pig ain't shabby, either. :)

  20. I say stuffing too! Guess I always will. The recipe looks great. Cornbread and pumpkin are a great combo. Thanks for this Val! : )


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