Mushroom, Chestnut, and Sausage Stuffing

Mushroom, Chestnut, and Sausage StuffingThat’s The Stuff-ing
The past 48 hours have been immensely frustrating. A few weeks ago, in anticipation of having to talk about all things Thanksgiving, I was searching for different recipes for stuffing. And, I found one that I though looked so interesting. But now, for the life of me…I can’t find it anywhere.

I don’t know what it’s like in your household, but in mine, the stuffing is ridiculously important. If there were no stuffing on the Thanksgiving table it would be a major issue—no matter who is in charge of making the meal. As a general rule, my family likes to cook most of the stuffing in the bird. But, we also do some extra in a casserole so there is enough to go around. There is plenty of debate on which is best. Personally I am conflicted. I like the flavor of the stuffing cooked inside the turkey. But, I also like the crispy stuff that is cooked in the casserole. I‘m good either way. Stuffing that bird is a problem though…if you choose to spatchcock your turkey.

Since we are not doing Thanksgiving the normal way this year, I am cooking Thanksgiving for my immediate family. And, since my oven isn’t super huge I am forced to spatchcock my turkey if I want to have a bird big enough to allow for leftovers. And, there must be leftovers.

So, I was looking for stuffing recipes that aren’t cooked in the bird and I found one made with sausage, herbs, the usual breadcrumbs, and possibly mushrooms. It had been moistened, chopped fine (or possibly put in a food processor) molded into a log, cooked, and then sliced. It looked so cool and elegant—and definitely different. But, that is the recipe I can no longer find. Arrrrrrgggggh!!!

If this sounds at all like something anyone of you have heard of please let me know and pass along the recipe if you can. It’s going to drive me batty until I can find it again!

My frantic search has been good in one respect. I have found some really interesting possibilities for this year’s stuffing for those who are inclined to change things up. There are stuffings using rye bread and others with figs and kale. There’s traditional apple and sausage stuffing as well as some with chorizo. Below is a recipe for Mushroom, Chestnut, and Sausage Stuffing and it is the most appealing to me for this year. It’s a bit of a departure from our usual. But, then again everything about this year is new territory…

Mushroom, Chestnut, and Sausage Stuffing
Adapted from Anthony Bourdain in Food and Wine Magazine
Yields 8 to 10 servings

This recipe can be made the day of and timed to come out of the oven when the turkey is ready (or kept warm). Another option is to partially prepare the stuffing the day before and place in the fridge overnight—to be easily completed and popped into the oven about 50 minutes before serving.

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1-1/2 cups whole peeled chestnuts (we are using Minerve in a jar
12 cups 2-day-old rustic or peasant bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups Turkey Stock (we are using Kitchen Basics
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (separated from stem), plus 6 fresh thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons finely chopped sage, plus 2 sage sprigs
1 pound mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 large eggs, beaten
2 Fresh Pork Sausages, about 6 ounces (from our meat counter)

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Butter a 4-quart baking dish.

Prep your herbs and vegetables
Chop and prep all your ingredients and set them aside.

Toast the bread cubes
Spread the chestnuts and cubed bread on 2 separate baking sheets. Bake until the chestnuts are deep golden and the bread is crisp (about 10 minutes). Allow to cool. Coarsely chop the chestnuts and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the stock
In a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a simmer and keep it warm.

Cook the aromatics
In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots, onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chopped thyme and sage and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the large bowl.

Cook the mushrooms
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet. Add half of the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and add 1/4 cup of the wine. Cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, until almost all of the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute. Scrape the mushrooms into the large bowl.

Repeat with another 2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining mushrooms and wine.

Bake the stuffing
Add the parsley, bread, and warm stock to the bowl, gently mix the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the beaten eggs and chopped sausages, and mix gently coating thoroughly. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish, cover it with foil, and set in the preheated oven to bake.

If you are preparing the stuffing the day of
Bake the stuffing until it is golden, crisp and cooked through (about 45 minutes).

Serve hot, drizzled with gravy made from the turkey pan juices.

If you are preparing the stuffing the day before
Bake the stuffing until it is set but not browned (about 35 to 40 minutes). Transfer it to a rack, uncover, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate the stuffing overnight to finish the recipe and reheat on Thanksgiving day.

On the day of, preheat the oven to 425° F. and bake until golden, crisp, and heated through (about 30 to 40 minutes).

Serve hot, drizzled with gravy made from the turkey pan juices.


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