From Denny: The race is on to find and try new twists on holiday favorites and stuffings are right there at the top of the list!
The first recipe is for vegetarians which is a welcome sight on the holiday table for relatives who are vegetarians. Easy to make for the cook too, a real win-win. It's made with buttery challah bread and tasty cremini mushrooms, sure to win over the carnivores too! I'd use clarified butter in this both for health reasons and flavor.
This second recipe is calling my name this season too: ciabatta bread with chorizo sausage (I might substitute a local brand, Richard's (Ree-chards), that does a wonderful turkey sausage), shitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes. What a great way to incorporate sweet potatoes in a new way! The seasonings are olive oil, rosemary (so fragrant!) and loads of garlic (awesome!).
While you can use these to stuff a turkey, I don't advise it. Why? Too much bacteria to worry about and it also slows down the cooking time - and it's also too gooey as a finished product. What we like at our house is to bake the stuffing as a casserole in a thin layer so you get lots of crusty topping!
THE RECIPES from food52.com
Challah, mushroom and celery stuffing
From: Chefs Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
• 1 large loaf of challah or brioche
• 2 cup celery, diced
• 2 cup onion, diced
• 2 cup cremini mushroom, diced
• 8-10 sprigs thyme, chopped
• 3 sprig rosemary, chopped
• 0.25 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
• 3 cup vegetable stock, preferably homemade
• 3 ounce butter
• 4 ounce melted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1. Cut the challah into 1-inch cubes. Leave the cubes out on a parchment lined sheet pan on the counter to get stale, at least overnight, and preferably 2 days.
2. Melt 3 oz. of butter in a large heavy saute pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
4. Press stuffing into a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment, and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
5. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment to crisp the surface.
Ciabatta stuffing with chorizo, sweet potato and mushrooms
From: Chefs Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
Serves: 6 to 8
• 9 cup Ciabatta bread, cubed into 1-inch pieces
• 14 sage leaves, divided into 4 and 10, chopped
• 2 tablespoon rosemary
• 1 medium red onion, diced
• 3 cup sweet potato, small dice (about 1 large potato)
• 5 cup shitake mushrooms (or your favorite mix), sliced
• 1 cup dried chorizo, small dice
• 2 - 2.5 cups chicken or turkey stock (or broth)
• 1 egg
• 4 tablespoon melted fat - butter, schmaltz, or turkey drippings
• salt and pepper
1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees.
2. Toss the bread cubes with 4 sage leaves, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and bake until golden and toasty. Remove from oven and put in large bowl or container. (They are great for a little snack as you continue with the recipe.)
3. In a large pan, saute the chorizo in a little olive oil until golden. The chorizo is already cooked but it's nice to render the fat and get it a little crispy. Remove chorizo with a slotted soup to the bowl with the bread.
4. Next, saute the mushrooms in the chorizo fat (adding a little olive oil if necessary) and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to bowl with bread.
5. Next, add some olive oil as the mushrooms most definitely sucked up all the fat. Saute the onion until soft and golden and add salt and pepper to taste. Add to the bowl with the bread.
6. Lastly, saute the sweet potato (adding oil as necessary) and salt and pepper to taste. You don't need to cook the potato through as it will cook in the oven but it's good to get a little color on it.
7. Whisk 2 cups of stock or broth with the egg and salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl of bread, etc., add the remaining sage, 2 tablespoons of the fat, and toss thoroughly until evenly moistened. You may need to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of stock but don't overdo it. You have been seasoning all along but you may want to taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper.
8. Pour into a baking dish — a 9x13 or an oval gratin pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. This allows the bread to really absorb the stock and makes for a moist interior and crunchy top.
9. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil, brush top with remaining 2 tablespoons of fat, and bake for 15 more minutes. You may want to broil the top for the last few minutes so the top gets nice and crispy but be sure to watch it carefully.
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