wild mushroom and chestnut brioche stuffing with fresh sage
This is a rich and flavorful stuffing. Instead of using animal fat
as a tenderizer (additional melted butter, bacon, or sausage) this stuffing gets
its moisture from lowfat milk. The autumn flavors comes from well-browned,
earthy mushrooms and fresh sage and thyme. To make things easy for yourself on
Thanksgiving Day, you can prepare the stuffing in advance and bake it on Thanksgiving Day.
what you need:
1 loaf or 4-5 large buns (5 heaping cups) quality brioche, cut into ½ – 1” cubes 1 ¼cup lowfat milk
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf and 1 cluster of sage leaves)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves 8-10 fresh thyme stems, stripped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, cored, thinly sliced 2 celery stalks, diced
12 ounces sliced mushrooms (hen of the woods, shiitake, oyster, crimini) ½ tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup dry white wine
12 steamed chestnuts, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 -1 ¼ cup chicken stock
unsalted butter for baking dish
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (optional) freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
kosher salt (to taste)
• Make Croutons. Cut brioche into cubes as indicated. Spread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dry cubes by either baking them in an oven preheated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, or, let them set out overnight, uncovered, at room temperature. When dried (but not golden brown brown if baking) place in a large bowl and set aside.
• Sweat Aromatics. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Add shallots, thyme and sage. Mix in the melted butter. When shallots are translucent, add the onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown and moisture from the mushrooms is cooked out of the pan. The mushrooms will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.
• Deglaze. Add white wine to the pan. Cook until demi sec (half of the wine has been cooked outof the pan). Remove pan from stove. Add minced parsley and chestnuts. Toss to incorporate ingredients. Remove from the pan from the stove and set aside.
• Make Panade. Place milk and bouquet garni in a saucepan and simmer them to infuse the herbs (about 20 minutes). Your milk should have reduced to 1 cup. Bring milk to a boil. Turn off heat. Pour the boiling milk over the bread cubes. Discard bouquet garni. Toss bread cubes with the milk and press the cubes together with your hands so the milk hydrates the bread.
• Assemble. Butter a large baking dish. Add the aromatics to the panade and mix it together well. Spread the stuffing evenly in the baking dish. Add chicken stock (you may only need 1 cup). (If baking the next day, add stock before you bake, not now).
• Bake. Bake the stuffing, covered, in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown (about another 10 minutes). If stuffing looks dry, add more chicken stock.
• Adjust Seasoning. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want more flavor, you can add some melted butter.
• Fluff. Fluff the stuffing with a fork.