Recipes, thoughts, and hints for enjoying herbs in the kitchen

Cooking With Herbs



New Tastes for the Turkey

In my family we have turkey on Christmas as well as Thanksgiving. Although I love tradition and the simple stuffing that my family has made for years (it’s definitely the best in the day-after sandwiches), every once in a while I think it might be fun to experiment with something different.  Here are a few variations you might want to try on your holiday bird.  One is decidedly Moroccan in flavor, the other is flavored with pesto for an Italian twist, and the third is a cornbread stuffing from my good friend and splendid cook, Peggy Matthews.  Let me know what you think.


½ cup blanched sliced almonds

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 ½ cups raw white rice

¾ cup raisins

¼ pound ground almonds

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ras el hanout*

6 tablespoons sugar

2 pinches of saffron

2 tablespoons honey


Brown sliced almonds in 2 tablespoons butter.  Cook rice in boiling water for 10 minutes and drain.  (It will be slightly undercooked.)  Stir the raisins and ½ stick butter into the rice, place in a colander over a pot of steaming water and steam for 10 minutes or until barely done.  Place in a bowl and stir in the sliced almonds, ground almonds, cinnamon, ras el hanout, 2 more tablespoons of butter, and the sugar.  Stuff the turkey with this mixture.  Blend the saffron with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon salt and rub this seasoned butter over the turkey before putting it in the oven.  One hour before the turkey is done, combine the honey with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, melted, and brush over the turkey to glaze it.  If there is any glaze left, repeat glazing 30 minutes before the bird is done.

*Ras El Hanout

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon each black and white pepper

¼ teaspoon each nutmeg, cloves, cardamon


6 cups rice, cooked al dente

1 1/2 cups pesto

¾ cup pine nuts, toasted

Stir the pesto and pine nuts into the rice, mixing thoroughly.  Stuff the turkey and cook as usual.


½ cup raisins

¼ cup sherry

2 tablespoons olive oil                                                               

2 tablespoons butter                      

1 medium onion, diced

2 hot Italian sausages

2 sweet Italian sausages

2 cups crumbled cornbread

½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 small eggs, lightly beaten

Soak raisins in sherry for 1 hour to soften and plump.  Sauté the diced onion in half the olive oil and butter until translucent but not brown.  Drain and set aside.  Cut the sausages into small pieces and sauté in the remaining oil and butter until brown.  Drain.  In a bowl, mix cornbread, raisins and sherry, nuts, sausage, onion, and herbs together.  Stir in lightly beaten eggs.  Stuff the turkey and cook as usual.


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© photos Chris Mead; drawings Don Wise, text Emelie Tolley


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