Porcini, Chestnut, and Sausage Stuffing
Sauteing the ingredients the night before Thanksgiving saves time, and allows the flavors to meld. This recipe, which calls for bacon, porcini, and chestnuts in addition to the usual onion, celery, and herbs, defies mediocrity without abandoning familiar flavors.
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/2 pound slab bacon, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, rinsed well and finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
- Liver from turkey, coarsely chopped
- 5 cups cubed, crustless white bread, dried overnight
- 2 cups coarsely chopped peeled chestnuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 cups Giblet Stock
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine porcini with boiling water, and let soak for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate, reserving drippings in skillet. Add onion, leek, celery, and garlic to skillet, and cook until translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain porcini, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid. Coarsely chop porcini, and add to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to plate with bacon.
Heat oil in same skillet. Add sausage, and cook, crumbling with a spoon, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add liver, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Add to bacon mixture. Let cool. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before using.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine bacon mixture, bread, chestnuts, and thyme. Pour stock and reserved porcini soaking liquid over the top. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Let stand for 10 minutes, allowing bread to soak up liquid.
Transfer stuffing to turkey cavity, and follow directions in Roasted Brined Turkey, being sure to cook stuffing until its temperature registers 165 degrees; place remaining stuffing in an 8-inch square baking dish, cover if desired, and bake until heated through, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.