Stuffing vs. Dressing, a Recipe and a Wine Pairing

By: Jennifer Knoll

Persimmon stuffingIn most homes, stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably to describe that savory mixture of bread, veggies and herbs that takes second seat at your holiday table. And for most their loyalty to either stuffing or dressing runs deep. But is there really a difference?

Classic dressings are most often roasted separately from and served alongside your main course, typically turkey. Although the recipe can be exactly the same as stuffing you have no worries of cross-contamination when preparing this dish. The key to a delectable dressing are the crisp bits of crunch you get on top and on the sides of the layers of bread that keep you coming back for more.

Stuffing, as the name indicates, is stuffed inside the cavity of a bird, be it a quail or turkey, and roasted inside. What this technique offers is the added benefit of all those tasty juices imparting flavor to your stuffing. But beware! This method does offer risk and you MUST see to it that your bird is cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees. 

So choose your preferred method, stuffing or dressing, and let’s get on to the fun part – pairing a Paso wine with a new recipe…

Roussanne or a Roussanne blend, which we are fortunate to have many of in Paso Robles, is my first wine of choice for Turkey Day.  The best examples provide aromas of stone fruits (nectarine, pear, peach), wildflowers, Meyer lemon, herbal tea and flavors of honey and toasted nuts and pair perfect with roasted poultry.

Kinero_rustlerA standout Roussanne for me is most definitely Kinero Cellars 2010 'Rustler’ from the James Berry Vineyard.  This unctuous and bright wine is made by superstar winemaker Anthony Yount, known for his cutting-edge whites and his role as winemaker at the acclaimed Denner Vineyards

One of my favorite fall/winter fruits are persimmons; gorgeous in color, firm with just a slight sweetness, they pair well with Roussanne and add a playful note to your holiday table. (Bonus note, you can also use them in salads or wrapped in prosciutto for a quick appetizer.)  Here they are cooked into a stuffing perfect for your holiday table. 

Persimmon Stuffing

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery stalk, diced

6 slightly firm persimmons, peeled and cut into chunks

½ teaspoon salt

3 cloves crushed garlic

½ loaf of sour dough bread, cubed 

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Half a bunch of fresh chopped parsley

1 ½ cups chicken stock

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter; add the onions and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften. Add garlic and persimmons, cook for 1 minute. Add salt and stock. Bring to simmer. Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and pour over the hot broth mixture. Add the fresh herbs and mix well. If the bread seems too dry more stock can be added. Taste for salt, and adjust if needed. Transfer to a buttered two-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes, or until top is golden-brown and crispy. 

At my Thanksgiving table we call it stuffing although nothing is actually stuffed inside a bird. So to you and your family stuffed or dressed, many warm holiday wishes!

Jennifer Knoll is a lifelong resident of Paso Robles. Growing up in the wine business and being surrounded by farmers, she developed a serious fetish for wine and food.  She is the Assistant Tasting Room Manager at Tablas Creek Vineyard. Please get permission before reproducing this recipe.