02 December 2008

This is one of the new recipes I tried on Thanksgiving. I had a hard time finding a recipe I wanted to try. Most of the popular ones right now involve fruit (I do not like to add fruit to savory dishes) or cornbread. I really wanted something more traditional. Finally I found this one on the Food Network website. It appeared to be exactly what I had in mind. I made a few changes to it; you can find the original here.

Mushroom Dressing

8 slices white bread, cut into ½” pieces
1 ½ lbs. mushrooms
2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, sliced or diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh sage
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup half and half
3 large eggs, beaten
black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Trim the dry part from the bottom of the cremini stem and quarter. Stem and quarter the shiitakes. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and sage, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and brown, about 25 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and salt and bring to a simmer.

Whisk the cream, eggs, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the bread and mushroom mixture and toss until the bread is moistened. Transfer the dressing to a buttered 1 ½ quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until the dressing sets and the top browns, about 1 hour. Let dressing sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Some notes about what I changed:
  • I found some pre-dried cubes of bread in the bakery section of the grocery store and used that instead of making my own. I left instructions for making your own in the recipe because I think that is a seasonal item that they only have during the holidays.
  • About the mushroom types: You can really use whatever type you want. The original recipe called for crimini and shiitakes. I used 1 lb. of mini bellas and 4 oz. of shiitakes (I just now realized that that doesn't add up to 1 1/2 lbs!) But I really think it would work with white button mushrooms as well.
  • The shallots: I diced mine and didn't realize until now that the recipe calls for sliced. I really don't think it would make that big of a difference.
  • Herbage: The original recipe called for just rosemary, but I always like sage in a Thanksgiving dressing, so I threw a bunch of that in there too. I just tore it into little pieces.
  • The original recipe called for heavy cream but I used half and half.
  • Number of eggs: I think next time I will try reducing the number of eggs. While it was really good, I kind of feel like it was a little too "eggy." The eggs firmed up a lot and it seemed a little too firm or something. Maybe I overcooked it. I don't know. I will comment here if I try it again with a different number of eggs.
  • The original recipe also called for fresh parsley to be mixed in. Since I added the sage, I decided to skip the parsley.
  • It says to cook the shallots and mushrooms for 25 minutes, but I don't think I cooked mine that long. That is a long time! I think it's fine to increase the heat a bit so they cook a little faster. Just don't turn it up so much that the shallots start to get brown.
Okay, I think that is all I wanted to say about that. The dressing was well-liked and I was happy with it. Leftovers weren't the greatest, but I think that had something to do with the "eggy" consistency. Hopefully that will change when I tinker with the number of eggs.

The shallots and mushrooms getting all soft in the pan.

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