It seems like every vegetarian I know misses bacon the most. Not me. For me, it was all about the stuffing. Every Thanksgiving, I’d longingly eye the meaty version, and turn back to the sad, bland vegetarian stuffing on my plate. They’re just never the same! Luckily, though, I’ve finally filled that void. This stuffing attributes is rich, full flavor to loads and loads of umami-packed mushrooms. Really, you’d never know that it was vegetarian. Seriously, it’s that good!
- 1 1/2 Pullman Loaves, roughly torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 2 Ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 10 Ounces fresh white mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 1 Large yellow onion, halved lengthwise then sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces
- 4 Large shallots, quartered
- 2 Ribs celery, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 Medium carrots, halved lengthwise then sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch thick pieces
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 1/4 Teaspoons salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Arrange oven so that racks are in the lower 1/3 and upper 1/3 positions. Preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. Arrange bread over 2 large baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bread is dry. Stir bread occasionally and switch the position of the two baking sheets halfway through. Transfer dried bread to a large bowl and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
4. While the bread is in the oven, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil. Place dried porcinis in a heat-withstanding bowl, and carefully pour boiling water over mushrooms. Let the mushrooms soak for about 20 minutes. Place a fine-meshed sieve into another bowl, and drain porcini mushrooms in that, reserving the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze any excess water out. Chop mushrooms coarsely.
4. While the mushrooms are soaking, melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter’s foam subsides, stir in white mushrooms, onions and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown. Stir in celery, carrots, garlic and coarsely chopped porcini mushrooms and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with thyme, sage, parsley and salt and pepper. Pour vegetable mixture over dried bread and toss to combine well.
5. Deglaze the skillet with about 1 cup of reserved porcini water. Turn the heat to high, and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan for about 1 minute. Pour the rest of the reserved mushroom water and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the bread and toss again so the stuffing is evenly coated.
6. Transfer stuffing to a greased 13×9 inch baking dish, spreading evenly. Grease one side of a piece of foil with butter, and place it over the stuffing, greased side down. Bake on upper 1/3 rack of oven for about 20 minutes, or until the stuffing is heat through. Take the foil off and continue baking, uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.