There's no messing with Thanksgiving's favorite stuffing, no-sir-ee. I only-only-only make the same turkey dressing that my mom and her mom made. But other times of the year? I'm happy to experiment with other recipes. Here, the stuffing is lightened for spring, it's packed with celery, leeks and mushrooms. It's easy enough for a weeknight, perfectly delicious for a holiday meal.
Many families happily stuff with tradition at Thanksgiving.
I love to try new dishes. But on the fourth Thursday in November, there’s no debate or deliberation: no recipe but my mother’s will do. And Mom’s recipe came from her mother! (Update: See Nana and Mom's recipe for Sausage Stuffing.)
Is their recipe so special? Not really. It starts with pork sausage so is quite rich. It has the requisite onion, celery, sage and thyme.
No peppers, fruit or cornbread: none of the must-have ingredients in other families’ traditions.
But it’s April not November. The leaves are turning green not falling down. So let’s experiment now, without risk of dashing long-held tradition.
For an easy weekend supper, serve SPRING STUFFING with a roasted chicken. Since chicken roasts at a high temperature for an hour, add the stuffing’s baking dish to the oven for only the last 30 minutes or so. Even then, watch carefully to avoid burning.
Or here’s another idea. Look for a whole turkey breast, then mound the stuffing beneath the meat before roasting. The turkey juice will drip into the stuffing – delicious.
Time to table: 40 minutes
Makes 5 cups
- 5 slices heavy whole-grain bread, cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, cleaned, white and light-green parts only cut into half moons (see how to clean leeks)
- 3 ribs celery, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Arrange bread cubes in single layer on baking sheet. Place in 350F/175C oven without preheating. Dry cubes for 20 minutes or until slightly toasted.
Meanwhile, heat Dutch oven on medium high, cook butter until foamy. Add leeks, celery and mushrooms as they’re prepped, stirring well. Stirring often, sauté until soft and golden. Add garlic, cook 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in sage, thyme and parsley and cook about 1 minute.
Separately, whisk eggs, broth and salt and pepper. Fold bread cubes into egg mixture. Then fold egg/bread mixture into vegetables, stirring just until combined. Reduce heat to medium, cook 4 – 5 minutes until egg cooks and liquid nearly absorbed.
Alternatively, transfer to greased baking dish, refrigerate and reheat at 350F 30 – 45 minutes until heated through.
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