This Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon and Bacon is so unique and delicious, it’s my absolute favorite of all time. I don’t reserve it for Thanksgiving either…it’s a great side dish for lamb and beef too!
A sommelier friend recommended that I try this Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon and Bacon several years ago and I was totally hooked. We’ve done a fair amount of recipe sharing and when she said this was amazing; I trusted her. I also included it on my blog then…back in 2010 so it was time for a huge redo. One little photo was not doing the trick!
The first year I prepared it, my BFF was coming for Thanksgiving dinner with her family and she asked if she could come over early that day and cook with me. I normally make a cornbread dressing that we love, so with two of us in the kitchen I didn’t think both of them were outside the realm of possibility.
Purists might insist I call this dressing and others opt for naming it stuffing, but whether it’s in or out (and I favor out; thinking the bird cooks faster) it matters little; call it whatever you want, just call it good! As if adding bourbon wasn’t enough, this Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon also has bacon…you see why I love it SO much!
It’s no secret because I’ve said it before; I could do without turkey but not without stuffing/dressing or other side dishes we love on this day when we celebrate the bounty in our lives. I think maybe the turkey is the dressing and this is my idea of a main course!
While I do love the cornbread stuffing that I make with my all time favorite Maple Roasted Turkey show above, this dressing sounded AMAZING and it did not disappoint; it is now a ‘have to have’ for every Thanksgiving holiday meal and I love it so much I often make it for Christmas too!
I’m always keen on keeping food costs down but there are some times and some dishes I’m not going to mess with…so for me it’s absolutely necessary to use Kerrygold Irish Butter. I’m lucky I can get both at my local Costco but if I couldn’t, this would not be the dish I would scrimp on. So unique, so fabulous and now certainly a required element for our Thanksgiving and Christmas Day table.
I probably spent as much time looking for the perfect bourbon as I did for my turkey and finally found the Basil Hayden Bourbon my friend had suggested. I had no idea the differences in bourbons when I embarked on this journey but had just been told it needed to be a smooth and light variety; it needed to add to the dish, not become the dish. I’ve always used Basil Hayden but use your favorite if you have something you love.
I’ve made one modification to the original recipe by adding some pecans which we loved. This is not a difficult dish; unless eating the whole pan all by yourself constitutes difficult. It’s simply the best!
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PIN IT! ‘Bacon, Bourbon, Pumpernickel and Rye Stuffing’
Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon
- ½ lb thick-cut bacon chopped
- ½ cup butter Kerrygold Irish Butter recommended
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- ½ loaf day-old pumpernickel bread cubed
- ½ loaf day-old dark rye bread cubed
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1 quart chicken stock more as needed Note: I get Swanson Chicken Broth by the case at Costco!
- ½ cup good quality bourbon whiskey Basil Hayden suggested
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Pour remaining bacon fat in the skillet into a bowl.
- Using the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, and rosemary, and cook until onions are soft and transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon fat.
- Meanwhile, place the pumpernickel and rye bread cubes into a large bowl. Stir in the cooked bacon pieces, eggs, thyme, sage, pecans and onion mixture, and toss to mix evenly.
- Stir the chicken stock and bourbon together in a bowl. Pour the chicken stock mixture over the bread mixture, adding more stock to reach desired consistency. Use your hands to evenly mix the ingredients together. Spoon stuffing mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and pat down lightly.
- Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If you wish to have a darker crust on top, bake for an additional 10 minutes.