Wild Mushroom Stuffing with fennel and leeks – a tasty vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dish that is full of depth and flavor flavors. Vegan adaptable!
- 14 –16 ounces French-bread cut into one inch cubes ( or sub gluten-free corn bread)
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
- 3/4 cup butter or olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms- shiitake, chanterelles, button, cremini
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ( optional, sub 1 ½ cups celery)
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only) 2 extra large leeks
- 8 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – optional
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine – or sub stock plus teaspoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend ( or use Vegan Eggs- see notes)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 and heat a kettle of water.
- Cut bread, place on baking sheet and place in oven (while its still warming up) for 15-20 minutes, to lightly toast, or dry out. Set aside.
- Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with plate and let stand 20-30 minutes.
- Cut mushrooms ( stems OK, except shiitake stems, discard those)
- Heat butter over medium high heat in a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven. Add mushrooms. If butter gets too hot add a splash of olive oil. This will temper it. Stir mushrooms every few minutes or so for 10 minutes. Add leeks, fennel, garlic and optional fennel seeds. Continue cooking another 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add wine or stock with a teaspoon of vinegar). Let this cook all the way down, until it’s completely evaporated. This will take 5-10 more minutes. Be patient. At the same time strain dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Chop and add to the pot.
- Once liquid has evaporated, combine this mushroom mixture with cubed bread in a large bowl (or at this point you could refrigerate the mushroom mix (without bread) making it ahead,and assembling the day of).
- Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. Toss in the fresh herbs, and enough of the reserved mushroom liquid (or stock) to moisten the bread (about 1 cup). Mix in the beaten egg. You want the bread moist, but not sopping wet.
- Pour into a 9×13 inch greased baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes, covering with foil for the first 15-20 minutes. Then uncover, so it turns nicely golden brown and puffs slightly.
- Scatter with fresh sprigs of rosemary or thyme
- Notes: You can keep this gluten-free by using gluten free corn bread. You can “beef this up” by adding cooked sausage to this when combining with the bread, perhaps reducing the salt a little. Also, you can make this without the dried mushrooms, and sub stock for the “mushroom water”- but the dried mushrooms do seem to boost the mushroom flavor. You can cut back on oil or butter- I tried this ( using ½ cup) and it was just ok, not quite as good. Traditionally, it calls for a cup of butter, so ¾ cup is slightly less. 😉 To keep this vegan, use “egg replacer” like FOLLOW you HEART Vegan Eggs.
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