For this traditional Thanksgiving side, use your favorite rustic loaf of bread from the bakery, whether it’s Italian focaccia or ciabatta, a French boule or even a crusty loaf of sourdough. The wild mushrooms add a wonderful texture and depth of flavor. When made with vegetable stock, it’s a hearty option for any vegetarians at the table.
Rustic Stuffing with Leeks and Wild Mushrooms
- Unsalted butter for greasing
- 1 large loaf (about 1 lb./500 g) rustic country bread, cubed (about 9 cups)
- 7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) wild mushrooms such as shiitake or trumpet mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 large leeks, thinly sliced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups (875 ml to 1 l) vegetable, chicken or turkey stock, warmed
1. Preheat an oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and the rosemary. Toss to coat the bread evenly with the oil. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until dry and firm but not browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour (the amount of time will vary depending on the type of bread and how fresh it is). Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the bread cool to room temperature.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
4. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and salt to taste and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
5. In the same sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the leeks, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the leek-onion mixture to a very large bowl. Add the bread cubes and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the stock 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed into the bread cubes and does not pool in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a bread cube, it should be moist throughout but not mushy. You may not need all of the stock. Fold in the mushrooms.
6. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes more. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 10 to 12.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen