Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

November 15, 2016 By Cathy — 22 Comments
Crispy edged, buttery stuffing flecked with leeks and pancetta is the ultimate Thanksgiving side.

Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

Have you finished planning your Thanksgiving menu yet? Room for one or two more recipes? Because I have two of my favorites to share with you this week.

Stuffing IS Thanksgiving for me. I mean I love the turkey, the potatoes and all the sides. But Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without stuffing.

Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

I remember being a kid and watching my mom prepare for Thanksgiving. We always used my grandmother’s china, the rose colored wine glasses and special dishes for the Waldorf salad and crudité. The sweet potatoes were candied, the potatoes smashed and the gravy never lumpy.

But when it was time to make the stuffing, she enlisted my brothers and me to help. We were instructed to wash up before sticking our hands into the big bowl to mix the toasted bread cubes with the onions, celery and stock. This was always my favorite part of the prep. I loved squishing the bread between my fingers and scooping it into the buttered baking dish.

Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

When it came time to eat, my plate was always fifty percent stuffing covered of course with a big ladle of gravy. I kept careful watch over that dish throughout the meal, always hoping that our guests filled up on the beans and squash so there would be enough for leftovers the next day.

The stuffing that I grew up on is the base for this recipe today. I’ve tried different versions over the years (and thoroughly enjoyed most of them), but this is my favorite. I’ve tweaked our family favorite by adding pancetta, leeks and fresh, flavorful herbs instead of dried.

Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

I like to add enough stock so the stuffing stays moist inside then drizzle the top with butter to get those crispy edges and top as it bakes. This recipe will easily serve eight, but don’t be afraid to make an extra pan if you have a stuffing-happy crowd or love the leftovers as much as me.

I’m looking forward to a big scoop of this stuffing on my plate this year. And I’ll be spooning it right onto my Grandma’s china as those dishes now grace my table. I love blending the traditions of my youth with the new traditions my family has created. This stuffing is a great example of that. You can taste the memories but welcome the updates. And the best news is there’s room for all of them on the Thanksgiving table.

Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

5 from 4 votes
Pancetta and Leek Stuffing
Pancetta and Leek Stuffing
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
Crispy edged, buttery stuffing flecked with leeks and pancetta is the ultimate Thanksgiving side.
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Cathy Roma |
  • 1 lb rustic Italian bread cut into 3/4 - 1 inch cubes
  • 4 oz pancetta thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb leeks about 3 large, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly
  • 4 celery ribs cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large sweet onion (Vidalia) diced
  • 1 Tbsp chives minced
  • 1 Tbsp sage minced
  • 1 Tbsp thyme minced
  • 3 eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread bread cubes on a large sheet tray. Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until just crisp, stirring the cubes so they toast evenly.
  3. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  4. Cook the pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium/high heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and reserve pan drippings in the skillet. Crumble the pancetta and reserve.
  5. Return the pan to the burner and add the leeks, celery and onion and cook over medium/high heat until golden and soft, about 10-15 mins.
  6. In a large bowl combine the bread, cooked leek mixture, herbs, eggs, stock, crumbled pancetta, salt and pepper. Start with 2 cups stock, then add a little more if cubes are too dry.
  7. Stir well to combine.
  8. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and spread stuffing evenly in the pan and drizzle with the melted butter. Cover with foil.
  9. Bake for 30 mins, then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Pancetta and Leek Stuffing

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Filed Under: Holiday, Recipe, Sides


22 responses to “Pancetta and Leek Stuffing”

  1. Wonderful! I knew your stuffing recipe was coming and I’ve patiently awaited its arrival! This sounds divine, Cathy!! I love the addition of leeks and pancetta! Wow!

  2. Wow Cathy! It’s not even 9 o’clock in the morning and I’m wishing I had that entire pan of stuffing right NOW!! It looks incredible. I love the leeks and pancetta! I’ve got to try your recipe.

  3. This stuffing looks so delicious Cathy!

  4. Love the combo of leeks and pancetta together. Stuffing makes the meal – I agree!

  5. Summer says:

    Yummy and pretty ♥

  6. Lu says:

    I am very excited to try this recipe for Thanksgiving! This will be the first time I am using real bread instead of the packaged stuff. lol I do have a question though, should I remove the crust of the bread? Thank you!

  7. Stuffing is my idea of Thanksgiving too, and often the star! This looks so incredible… I especially love the pancetta!

  8. Stuffing is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal and yours sounds delicious.

  9. I love the leeks and pancetta! Those are great additions to the recipe. And I’m with you on loving the stuffing. Even today I can’t get enough. Though now I can just make my own! 🙂

  10. Lu says:

    I have a little confession: This was the first time I used real bread in a stuffing recipe. OMG, your recipe ROCKED! It was crispy on top and moist through and through. I am so glad I tried it! Many Thanks!

  11. Emily says:

    Cathy! You remind me about the childhood staying beside parents when every my Thanksgiving has the appearance of them. But since I have a new small family, rarely I have time to back home to eat a holiday dinner together with them. So regretful! This Thanksgiving I also cook turkey but I haven’t made a dish of stuffing! Oh my god I seem to forget it! I think I will back home to visit my parent this Christmas and present them, of couse my husband and children as well this pancetta and leek stuffing! Thanks for your recipe!

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