We are already so close to Christmas! It truly is such a fun time of the year – memories with friends and family, the beautiful traditions, and the celebration of the blessings of the past year. This Christmas, Tom and I are heading to Florida to be with my family. I’m really excited to see them and cook for them for the first time since starting my blog! Last year for Thanksgiving, I made a mushroom and thyme cornbread stuffing for my family, which prompted my parents to remember the stuffing they grew up eating in Colombia for Christmas and how different it is from traditional American stuffings. To start, it’s not bread-based, but instead is focused on meat seasoned with olives, raisins, and cumin. So with the holiday’s closing in on us, I asked my dad for his recollection of the recipe for the stuffing he ate during his childhood Christmases. After some research and a lot of advice from my dad, I set out to create a stuffing that was traditionally Latin and inspired by the flavors and seasonings that I love. I think of this stuffing as savory with a hint of sweetness, almost like a picadillo that has some of the fundamental elements of an American stuffing – namely the onion, carrots, and celery.
On top of the meat and vegetables, there is a smokiness from the bacon, sweetness from the raisins and apple (the raisins are my favorite part), crunch from the walnuts, warm starchiness from the potatoes, and a most delicious saltiness from the olives and brine. This dish not only serves wonderfully as a holiday dinner side, but it’s amazing as a main dish too! You just need to make some white rice to go alongside it, or roasted vegetables like these.
I also love how this recipe cooks entirely on the stovetop. It seems like so many holiday dishes require the oven, so you can definitely make this while the chicken, turkey, or vegetables are roasting and have no problem figuring out how to time all the dishes in the oven!So if you’re looking to add some Latin flair to your Christmas table, or something delicious and interesting to bring to a potluck (did I mention it’s also gluten-free?), this Latin Holiday Stuffing will your perfect option!
Does your family have any traditional recipes for the holidays? I’d love to know them in the comments below!
Adapted from Chef Rogelio LaraPrint
Latin-Style Stuffing with Olives, Raisins, and Bacon
A delicious Latin-style stuffing for Christmas that is flavored with olives, raisins, and bacon. It’s all cooked on the stovetop and gluten-free!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings a main dish 14-16 servings as a side dish
- 7 ounces of bacon, diced
- 2 pounds of lean ground beef (93% lean)
- 1 cup of yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup of potato (about one large potato), peeled and cubed
- 1 cup of carrots, chopped
- ½ cup of celery, chopped
- 1 cup of apple (any kind except granny smith or really tart apples), chopped
- 1 cup of manzanilla olives (the small green ones with the red pepper inside it – I love Goya’s)
- ¼ cup brine from the olives
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
- ¾ cup of raisins
- ¾ cup of white wine (any dry white wine works – I used sauvignon blanc)
- Over medium heat in a large pan or dutch oven, add the chopped bacon and cook until it is mostly cooked and pink (not completely crispy), about 3 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic to the bacon and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the meat, breaking it down with a wooden so it can brown. Add salt, pepper, and cumin, and turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is almost all brown.
- Mix in the potatoes, carrots, and celery and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the apple, olives, olive brine, walnuts (if using), raisins, and whit wine then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the wine cooks off. Serve warm.