Mushroom and Leek Stuffing

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Many of you may already know, but for anyone that doesn’t know, I am totally and madly in love with carbs. I want to marry carbs. I want to spend my life with carbs.

I cannot get enough of carbs. They’re probably my favorite food group and whether I’m chowing down on a crusty baguette, eating bowl after bowl of pasta, or enjoying each and every grain in a huge bowl of rice, I cannot resist carbs.

It should come as no surprise that my favorite part of Thanksgiving is stuffing (aka dressing). How could anyone not be crazy about a dish that celebrates bread? I would be completely okay with simply eating cubes of plain bread goodness, but I know most people like their stuffing/dressing to have a bit more substance.

This Mushroom and Leek stuffing is absolutely delicious. An abundance of mushrooms makes this a substantial and almost meaty dish, while leeks give a delicate onion flavor and pancetta gives a salty bite. You can’t go wrong with any form of stuffing/dressing, but I highly recommend this one.

Just a few notes:

  • Stuffing deserves good bread! Cubes of generic, white bread are nowhere near as good as a loaf of rustic style bread. Treat yo self!
  • Serving stuffing in a large casserole dish (or 9 x 13 dish) is probably the most common, but why not divide into individual ramekins?
  • Feel free to cube bread into 1 inch pieces, but I like ripping the bread into comparable sizes. It looks more rustic and I think has superior texture than a cube.

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Mushroom and Leek Stuffing

  • 1 lb rustic bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 lb pancetta, chopped into a small dice
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs crimini mushrooms, chopped into quarters
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan(s)
  • 1 tablespoon minced sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rip up a 1 lb loaf of rustic bread into approximately 1 inch pieces (you want about 8-10 cups). I don’t even bother removing the crust as I think leaving the crust adds a greater variety of texture. Spread bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until nice and dry.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook for 8-10 minutes, until fat has rendered and pancetta is nice and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta and place into a large bowl.

In the same skillet used to cook pancetta (leaving the rendered fat from the pancetta), add prepped leeks, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the same bowl the pancetta is in.

In the same skillet, add in quartered mushrooms and butter. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and have released any liquid. Add to the large bowl containing pancetta and leeks.

Once bread is done baking and is pale but very crispy, add to the large bowl of pancetta, leek, and mushrooms and stir in chicken broth, sage, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well (and taste again for seasoning!). Crank up oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using additional butter, lightly grease 8-10 individual ramekins (depends on how big yours are, mine are slightly larger than 1 cup), or one large casserole dish/9×13 pan. Divide stuffing between ramekins or pour in the stuffing mixture into casserole dish.

If using individual ramekins, bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until top has crisped up. If baking in a large casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.

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