Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rustic Porcini Onion Stuffing

I'm not crazy about regular stuffing, and I have been always on the lookout for a different recipe. This one is a delicious recipe that I had found at Gourmet, and have been using this stuffing ever since.

I'm adding the original recipe below, but I do have some notes of changes that I have made to it.

I always cut the vegetables to smaller sizes as I don't like them too chunky in the stuffing.

You could use breadcrumbs, but baking a good bread that you like in the oven makes a big difference. I like using baguette.

Instead of using just water, I use vegetable or chicken broth (whichever I have handy). Depending on the bread you are using the stuffing can come out dry, so sometimes you will need more liquid 4 1/2 cups. So have some more handy and add the liquid bit by bit until you get the moisture level you like.

I'm also not crazy about celery, so I omit it. But I do like wild rice, so I add 1/2 cup cooked wild rice.

And keep in mind to always use fresh herbs.



1 1/2 (1-lb) Pullman or round loaves, torn into 1-inch pieces (20 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter plus additional for greasing dish
4 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (sometimes called c├Ępes; 54 g)
10 oz fresh white mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (3 cups)
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
4 large shallots, quartered
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread bread in 2 large shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until dry, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer bread to a large bowl.

Increase oven temperature to 450°F and butter a 13- by 9-inch baking dish (3-quart capacity).

Pour boiling-hot water over porcini and soak 20 minutes, then drain in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, squeezing porcini and reserving soaking liquid.

Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop.

While porcini soak, heat butter (1 stick) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook white mushrooms, onion, and shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add celery, carrots, garlic, and porcini and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper, then add vegetables to bread, tossing to combine.

Add 1 cup reserved porcini-soaking liquid to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute.

Add remaining soaking liquid and salt and pepper to taste and pour over bread mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Spread stuffing in baking dish and cover tightly with buttered foil (buttered side down), then bake in upper third of oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake stuffing until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

• Stuffing can be assembled (but not baked) 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
• Stuffing can be baked 6 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350°F oven until hot, about 30 minutes (test center with a wooden pick for warmth).

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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