Monday, December 13, 2010

Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, Bacon Stuffing

If you're like me and already thinking about Christmas dinner, you might be itching to try a new  accompaniment dish. Then again, you might have more important things to think of than a side dish for a meal two weeks out but, this is a food blog so, odds are you're like me and already wondering what the crap you're gonna do to make the holidays special. I'll tell you what you can do. Make this stuffing already and be quick about it.

Okay, there's nothing really quick about this. I think the loving care you put into cultivating the perfection of every morsel is worth it and will be totally be noticable by your guests...well, assuming they take the time to chew versus inhale because, folks, this has bacon in it. Oh yeah. And, three types of mushrooms. And, lots and lots of tart sourdough and herbs and all things good in this world. And, bacon.

Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, Bacon Stuffing
Adapted slightly from original Bobby Flay version( Featured on Throwdown episode with our very own, Pioneer Woman)


1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced  ( NOTE: If you have no money like me, do 1 lb of cremini, 1/4 pound oyster and 1/4 pound shiitake--- you'll save bucks and not sacrifice much flavor.)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets or 4 extra small baking sheets) in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl.

3.Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and goldeny brown, about 25 minutes.

4.While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note again: You want the dressing very wet but be careful not to go crazy. This stuff absorbs moisture like crazy and before long, you're stuff will look "very wet" but really be a swamp which tacks on a lot of cooking time and makes the flavor much saltier. Still good, though, so do whatever you want.

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