Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Stuffing {with Mushrooms, Sage, and Bacon}

For those of you thinking about the upcoming American turkey day, let me share my favourite stuffing recipe of all time. It stars mushrooms, bacon, sage, and hazelnuts, and couldn't be tastier.

I made it years ago for Thanksgiving with a Czech family, but a few weeks ago I decided it should have another showing. No special occasion, just a hankering for those fall flavours (like I hadn't had enough with the squash-sage-shiitake-bacon risotto sized for an army!)

The stuffing was a bit labour intensive for the average lunch, to be honest, so I served it along some simple lemon-thyme chicken legs and brussels sprouts. 

The mushrooms used were simply the ones that looked the best at the Brno market. In Czech, they are called Václavka obecná, in English, honey mushrooms. There's an excellent write-up of them over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. He explains that although they are not highly regarded in the mushroom world, they are traditionally found in Eastern European cuisine. He then makes a batch of Pierogis out of them - bookmarked and will be trying soon!

Another source of info, including where they can be found in North America: The Mushroom Expert

This year, I won't be celebrating Thanksgiving  in the Czech Republic (since whole turkeys, cranberries, and canned pumpkin are not exactly common, and anyways, it's a regular working Thursday over here.) However, I am looking forward to the visual smorgasboard of all the turkeys, stuffings, and pies that make their way to the tables of food bloggers and their families. Cameras ready!

Local walnuts - might make a nice seasonal alternative to hazelnuts
Continue to Recipe...
Recipe: Turkey Stuffing with Mushrooms, Bacon, Sage, and Hazelnuts
Serves 4
Time 2 hours

4 cups (1/2 lb / 250g) cubed stale bread rolls
6 rashers (4oz / 115g) bacon
2 Tb butter
1 large leek, white parts
stalks of 1 fennel - 1/2 cup chopped
3/4 lbs (350g) honey mushrooms (substitute with cremini, chanterelles, or hedgehogs)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly chopped sage
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine
2 cups (475ml) vegetable stock
2 eggs
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel
handful parsley

1) Heat oven to 400°F / 200°C.

2) If the bread rolls are not dried out enough, cube them and stick them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

3) Place the bacon on a tray and cook in the oven until crispy - 15 mins.

4) On the stovetop, heat the butter over med-low in a large pan and cook the leek fennel until soft, 5 mins. Add in the sliced mushrooms, thyme, and sage. Cook 10-15 minutes, until mushrooms have released their juices, and then dried up a bit. Pour the wine into the mix and cook another minute.

5) Whisk together stock and eggs. Add salt/pepper. In a buttered roasting pan, combine bread cubes, mushroom mix, hazelnuts, parsley, vegetable stock, and eggs. Cover with (buttered) sheet of foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.

Dobrou Chut' / Enjoy.
-- Jo

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