08 November 2011

Slow Cooker Cherry Almond Dressing


Welcome to Day Two of my special Thanksgiving Week! I hope you enjoyed the Garlic Pumpkin Mashed Potato recipe I posted yesterday.  Today I have a twist on dressing to share with you.  I don't know about you, but my biggest problem on Thanksgiving is oven space.  There are so many dishes that require the oven: turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, dressing, and usually some kind of bread.  I am insanely jealous of those of you who have one of those double oven dealies, where you can cook things at different temps.  So in the last few years I have tried to lighten the load of my oven by doing one side dish in my slow cooker.  Dressing.  Have you ever made dressing in the slow cooker?  The moist heat of the slow cooker is perfect for cooking dressing.

I have tried a different slow cooker dressing recipe every year and so far haven't found "the one".  They have all been okay, not horrible, definitely, but I just kept feeling like there was something missing.  I grew up eating very savory dressing and I loved it.  Lots of poultry seasoning, namely sage, onion, celery, etc.  The recipes I have tried in the past were similar to that, with some additions of mushrooms, bacon, and other fun stuff.  But when preparing for this special Thanksgiving Week on my blog, I wanted something different, something that would really stand out.  I decided to stay mostly savory, with a little bit of sweet and tart thrown in for good measure.

I came up with this recipe all on my own.  I am quite happy with it; I think it may be "the one"!


Slow Cooker Cherry Almond Dressing


Ingredients:
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
½ cup onion, diced
12 oz. package dried bread cubes (about 7 cups)
6 oz. package dried cherries
1½ cups sliced almonds
1 orange
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg


Directions:
Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onions until soft.  


Place onions, bread cubes, cherries, almonds, zest of half the orange, broth, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a 6 quart slow cooker.  Stir well to combine ingredients.


Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours, stirring once halfway through.  Add more broth if desired.  Garnish with additional orange zest.


Makes about 10 servings.

I was really happy with how this turned out.  I started with only 2 cups of broth, but thought it was a little on the dry side, so I added one more (after the pic was taken, btw).  I love how it's mostly savory, but has just the right amount of sweetness and tartness from the cherries, and crunch from the almonds.  I left out the poultry seasoning because it didn't fit in with the flavor profile I was going for.  I wanted something more different, so I went with cinnamon and nutmeg.  They don't make the dish sweet; they just give it a nice warmth.  The orange zest adds a little brightness. And isn't it so pretty?  This dish really has it all! It will really impress your Thanksgiving guests.

Be careful when buying dried cherries and don't make the same mistake I did.  All Craisin products are cranberries, they just come in different flavors.  Sunmaid makes dried cherries, so look for those.


Even if this specific recipe doesn't appeal to you, you must try making dressing in the slow cooker.  It's so easy and helps ease the burden of cooking a huge meal.  Most traditional dressing recipes can be easily adapted for the slow cooker.

Come back tomorrow for a recipe that puts a twist on green bean casserole, and doesn't include a can of anything!



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3 comments:

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

Wow, in the slow cooker? Love this! Looks great.

Jenna @ Newlyweds said...

This looks so good, love the spices and flavors you have going on in there and in the crockpot great idea!!

Thanks so much for linking up to my very first Recipe Linky, hope to see you next week!

Amy @ A Little Nosh said...

I'd have never thought to use the slow cooker for dressing! Thanks for linking up at A Little Nosh this week!

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