More Stuffing?

Joseph Leonard turns a holiday favorite into a year-round fixture

Every holiday season we look forward to one thing more than all the gingersnaps and snowballs in the world combined: stuffing.

We've always wondered why this most classic of American side dishes appears (along with its cousins roast turkey and eggnog) for only a few special meals in November and December, then gets packed away with the decorations for another 10 months.

But thanks to the new West Village restaurant-bar Joseph Leonard, the holidays have come early. There, owner Gabriel Stulman and chef Jim McDuffee are determined to make stuffing a year-round fixture.

As with much of the expansive American (and subtly French) menu–which contains more dishes (40) than the restaurant has seats (31)–stuffing is a deeply personal issue with Stulman, who told McDuffee to make it a perpetual side dish ($6) and change its featured ingredients with the seasons.

Right now, they include sweet corn, leeks and tarragon–a combination that highlights some of summer's best flavors, but with a familiar texture that sets one's sights toward fall (click here to download the recipe).

Speaking of autumnal favorites: Turkey was originally slated to join stuffing as a permanent menu component, but it got axed just before the restaurant opened. "But we'll revisit it soon enough," McDuffee assures us.

Joseph Leonard, 170 Waverly Pl. (at Christopher St.); 646-429-8383 or josephleonard.com