A classic "dressing" perfect for any holiday table.
This recipe is made with cubed baguette, but any good quality bread will work ranging from sourdough to country white. The celery is cooked only briefly before being added to the mix to provide a delightful crunch once baked. The mushrooms and sausage are the featured accent of this recipe, but any of the following items could be swapped in one or both of their place(s): 1 cup chopped dried apples; 1 jar chestnuts; 1 cup dried cranberries; 1 cup toasted pecans. See the Chestnut-Cornbread Stuffing recipe for more holiday inspiration!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; sauté pan; wooden spoon; large mixing bowls; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; baking pan or casserole (approximately 13x9)
Ingredients: 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 3 large onions, diced 3 medium celery ribs, leaves removed and finely diced 1 large baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and dried overnight or in the oven 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (no casing)
half a pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced 3 eggs, lightly beaten 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped 6 large sage leaves, chopped 1 quart chicken stock kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
extra butter to grease the baking dish
ILOC tip: undress your turkey and put the stuffing in a pan! Since stuffing is made with raw meats and eggs, it’s not a very good idea to hide it in the cavity of the bird where it all might not fully cook. Plus, that method prolongs the cooking of the turkey, since air and heat cannot get to the cavity and circulate within the bird.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is caramelized and dark brown, about 35-40 minutes. Add the celery and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl. Allow the vegetables to cool before adding the eggs, etc.
3. While the onions cook, brown the sausage in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat to form crumbled bits, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Sauté the mushrooms - sprinkled with kosher salt - cooking for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the mushrooms have browned and wilted slightly. Set aside to cool.
ILOC tip: use a potato masher to break up the sausage as you cook it, to facilitate crumbling the meat as it browns.
4. Once the vegetables and sausage are no longer hot, add the beaten eggs and cubed baguette. Stir in enough of the stock to moisten the stuffing, about 3½ cups or the full 4 cups. Season with thyme, sage, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Place the mixture in a buttered baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the top browns.
Makes 8-12 servings.