Chef Tom Douglas whips up a fabulous Thanksgiving stuffing sure to please the whole family.
King Boletus Stuffing
From Tom’s Big Dinners by Tom Douglas (William Morrow, 2003)
Makes 8 servings
The Northwest’s deliciously meaty boletus, “The King of Mushrooms,” are closely related to Italy’s porcini. If you can get your hands on fresh boletus or porcini mushrooms, use them in this recipe and omit the dried porcini. For the fresh mushrooms called for here, you can use crimini, button, shiitakes, oysters, chanterelles, or a combination. Duxelles is the French name for finely chopped cooking mushrooms. We often serve this stuffing alongside roast chicken or goose and it has become a staple at our Thanksgiving table.
1 loaf European style rustic bread, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
¼ cup minced shallots
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, tough stems removed, finely chopped by hand or in the processor
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
2/3 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, soaked in hot water 15 minutes and drained
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 cups chicken stock, hot
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large shallow baking dish, such as a 9x13-inch pan, and set aside.
To toast the bread, cut the crusts off the loaf, then cut the bread into 1½ inch chunks. You should have about 8 cups of bread cubes. In a bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
To make the duxelles, place the porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Steep until soft, about 20 minutes. Rub the porcini to remove any grit, then remove them from the water, coarsely chop, and set aside. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine sieve, or a cheesecloth-lined sieve, into a small saucepan. Bring the soaking liquid to a boil over high heat, reduce the liquid until syrupy, and set aside. (You should have about ¼ cup porcini syrup.) Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the porcini syrup and the chopped porcini, and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the duxelles until soft and paste-like, stirring occasionally and turning the heat down if needed to prevent scorching as the liquid evaporates, about 15 to 20 minutes total cooking time. Remove the duxelles from the heat and set aside.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the celery and onion until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, the duxelles, the celery and onion, the hazelnuts, cranberries or cherries, herbs, and chicken stock. Stir everything together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 35 minutes until the top is crusty and golden.
Note: The unbaked stuffing can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated a day ahead. Bake as directed above, allowing just a few minutes extra baking time.