What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? For me, it is stuffing, hands down. Although we always call it stuffing in my family, this is technically “dressing” since it doesn’t get stuffed inside a turkey.
I love stuffing that is buttery, full of herbs and a little crispy on top. I developed this Cranberry Apple Stuffing a few years ago. But recently I had the idea for this Mushroom Herb Stuffing with Leeks. The mushrooms add a wonderful earthy and savory flavor.
How to make the best stuffing
The most important part of making the best stuffing is choosing the right bread. I learned a few years ago that the best bread for stuffing is not the fancy stuff, but ordinary white sandwich bread. It is sturdy enough to not turn to total mush when mixed with the other ingredients, but it also absorbs some liquid so it doesn’t end up totally dry.
toast the bread
Once you find the right bread to use, next you want to toast it. Although it is traditional to use stale bread, toasting the bread will actually get you better results. Toasting it will dry out the bread evenly so that when it absorbs the liquid it creates a an even consistency.
To toast the bread, spread it evenly on two baking sheets, then toast in the oven at 300 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.
- 1 loaf country white sandwich bread Cubed. About 12-14 cups
- 8 tablespoons butter plus more for baking dish
- 2 onions diced
- 1 large leeks finely chopped
- 3 celery sticks finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary minced
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1 lbs mushrooms chopped. I used a combination of crimini, shiitaki and oyster mushrooms
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2.5 cups low sodium turkey or chicken stock use vegetable stock for vegetarian
- kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 300°F degrees and spread bread cubes on 2 baking sheets in a single layer. Toast , stirring a few times until dry, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Increase oven temperature to 375°F and butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms have released their moisture and pan is dry. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In a very large skillet or pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, leeks, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoons pepper, cook , stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Taste, add more salt if needed. Add to the bowl with the bread cubes, along with the chopped parsley.
- Pour chicken/turkey stock and beaten eggs over bread mixture. Stir until mixture is fully combined and bread is moistened.
- Transfer to the baking dish,tightly wrap with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.