Bring something new to the dinner table this year! Cuban-Style Thanksgiving Stuffing: Ground beef, diced ham, herbs, spices, sliced almonds, olives, raisins, and cornbread stuffing.
Can you just smell the cumin!? Sigh.
Ok, so here’s the deal. I’m ALLLLLL about traditional American Thanksgiving. From sweet potato to corn to green bean, I love all the casseroles. Cornbread, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, I love all of it! My family on the other hand? Not so much.
When you grow up in a Cuban family, they ain’t about that cornbread life. Casserole? No rice!? Wait, no Cuban bread!? Turkey!? But, turkey is too dry. Let’s put a TON of bacon strips on it and fry it. Ahhhhh.
If it were up to them, Thanksgiving would be EXACTLY like Christmas Eve. Do you know what a Cuban Christmas Eve looks like? Tons of pork with crispy skin because the entire pig was made/smoked in a box or under ground in your backyard, rice, probably two or three kinds, black beans, plantains, flan, rice pudding, basically what every dinner looks like on any given day. Well, sans the giant pig in the ground in your backyard.
This is why I believe Thanksgiving should be done differently. Gotta change things up once and a while!
I still remember my sister and I fighting for Thanksgiving to be completely, authentically American. “It’s just one dinner, mom!” Do you know how hard is was to convince them?! Everything seemed to have been running smoothly until… my mom walked to the dinner table with a bowl of white rice. Nooooooo. Stoooop. WHYYY. “But the meal is not complete without rice.” Mom, you don’t get it.
This Cuban-Style Thanksgiving Stuffing does a pretty good job of marrying both cultures. You mix the cornbread stuffing with a whole bunch of herbs, spices, and “picadillo-esque” everything else. Just in case you’re new here, picadillo is basically Cuban-style ground beef made with raisins, olives and spices. I make it a lot. It’s flavorful and delicious. I tend to use lean ground beef or ground turkey though. That’s just my preference. I used lean ground beef for this recipe but you can use regular ground beef or even ground turkey, if you wanna get wild.
Above all, the mix of sweet and salty flavors here is what makes this dish AMAZING. Salty diced ham and olives, crunchy almonds, chewy sweet raisins, and ground beef with cumin, oregano, and black pepper. It really is my favorite dish to make every Thanksgiving.
I hope you make this and you absolutely LOVE it!I'm bringing some Cuban flavor to Thanksgiving dinner this year! Click To Tweet
Cuban-Style Stuffing: Ground beef, diced ham, herbs, spices, sliced almonds, chopped olives, raisins, and cornbread stuffing!
- 1/2 large onion diced
- 2 1/2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef I used lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 package cornbread stuffing
- 1/2 lb diced ham
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup green olives sliced
- 2/3 cup almonds sliced
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock optional
In a large pan, add onion, garlic, and ground beef and cook on medium high heat until ground beef is browned. Do not drain.
Once ground beef is browned, reduce heat to medium low. Mix in oregano, cumin, black pepper, and bay leaves. Add cornbread stuffing. Continue stirring to combine everything thoroughly.
Finally, add diced ham, raisins, olives, and almonds. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm until ready to serve.*
*If preparing this a day in advance, make sure to cool before placing it in the refrigerator. Also, make sure to use the stock when reheating to avoid the stuffing from drying out.
Adapted from Cuba de Ayer Cuban Cookbook, 1971