EntertainingNov 14, 2023

Recipe: ​​Holiday Mash with a Crispy Stuffing Topper

Written by Kelsey Walker
Photographed by Shade Degges

‘Tis the season for cozy meals and potluck get-togethers. Today we’re sharing a festive favorite from local chef, Sophie Dalah (read more about her work and inspiration here!)

Holiday Mash with a Crispy Stuffing Topper

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hour
Serve: 6


2 Delicata Squash (or 1 Butternut)

5 Russet Potatoes

2 Medium Parsnips

4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs

6 Garlic Cloves

1 Onion (Yellow or White)

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter

1 Pint of Heavy Cream

2 Fresh Bay Leaves

Olive Oil

Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper


5 Cups of Torn Bread (I like Sourdough!)

1 Leek

6 Garlic Cloves

2 Cans of Chickpeas (I accounted for extra because you'll want them for snacking)

2 Small Fennel Bulbs or 1 Large

5 Anchovy Fillets

1 Cup of Chicken Stock

1/2 Bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley (for garnish)

Olive Oil

Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper


Step 1: Make the Crispy Chickpeas

Preheat your oven to a toasty 425°F.

Drain the chickpeas and pat them dry. 

Transfer the chickpeas to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and generously sprinkle them with salt. Pop them into the preheated oven and start checking on them around 20 minutes, but be patient; it can take up to 30 minutes for that perfect crunch to develop.

Once done, remove and set aside.


Step 2: Prepare the Flavorful Veggie Mix

Cut your leek in half lengthwise, trim off the end bit, and thoroughly wash the inside of the leek. Cut each half down the length. Smash, peel, and mince the garlic. Dice the fennel bulb.

Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Throw the anchovies into the oil and stir them around until they dissolve, then add the leeks, garlic, fennel, and season with a generous pinch of salt. Stirring frequently, cook the mixture until it becomes slightly jammy, about 20 minutes. Once done, set this mixture aside in a large mixing bowl.


Step 3: Mix the Stuffing Together

Lower the oven to 375°F.

Combine the torn bread with the leek and fennel mixture. Add the chickpeas in and pour in the chicken stock. Mix to combine everything evenly.


Step 4: Baking Time!

Spread the mixture evenly on a sheet tray, drizzle some olive oil over the top, and season the top with flaky salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until crispy, chewy, and delicious. It will get another couple of minutes in the oven at the end of the recipe.

Once done, set aside and try not to eat it all.


Step 5: Cook the Veg and Simmer the Cream

Cut the squash down the middle lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape all of the seeds and stringy bits out from the middle sections of the squash halves. Once cleaned out, rub the squash all over with olive oil and season the inside flesh liberally with salt and pepper. Place the squash flesh side down on a baking sheet and lift them up to tuck one smashed garlic clove each into the scooped out belly underneath. Pop them in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until the flesh yields easily to a spoon.

Peel the potatoes and parsnips, cut them into medium-sized chunks and put them into a cold pot of generously salted water. Turn the heat to high until the pot comes to boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer until the chunks are fork-tender – about 30 minutes.

While the potatoes are simmering, it’s time to get the cream mixture cooking.

Wash the onion and then slice it down the middle in half. No need to discard the skins. Smash the 2 remaining garlic cloves. Put the heavy cream, butter, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, onion, and smashed garlic cloves in a small sauce pot and set on low heat. Make sure to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil over.


Step 6: Make the Mash

Scoop the flesh from the inside of the squash into a large pot or dutch oven. Drain the potatoes and parsnips and add them into the squash mixture. Set a fine mesh strainer over the pot and start streaming the cream mixture in. Take turns adding some cream, stopping to mash and incorporate it all together before adding more cream. The goal is to completely combine all of the vegetables into one mixture; how much of the cream you use is up to you.

Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.


Step 7: Finish It Up!

Set the oven to 425°F.

Put the mash into a large baking dish or cast iron skillet; use two if you have to. Generously scatter the stuffing mixture on top of the mash and place back in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy delicious.

Remove from the oven, top with chopped parsley and stand back and admire this amazing food you made yourself.


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