When the first European settlers landed on American shores, they found an abundance of mushrooms growing wild in the forests.
Hence, wild mushrooms are a fitting addition to our Thanksgiving dressing. We call for dried mushrooms, which lend a wonderful texture and depth of flavor.
The mushroom soaking liquid enhances the earthy character of the dish.
- 2 oz. dried wild mushrooms
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
- 1-lb. loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes with a Wusthof bread knife
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 1/2 cups prepared French chestnuts, halved
- 12 oz. mild fresh Italian sausage, casings removed
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and hot broth and soak for 1 hour. Drain the mushrooms in an All-Clad strainer, reserving the broth. Roughly chop the mushrooms, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a baking dish or small Dutch oven.
In a bowl, combine the bread cubes and olive oil and stir to coat. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms.
In a saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter. Add the onion and celery and saute, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread.
Return the pan to medium heat and melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and crumbling with the back of a wooden spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the bread and stir in the parsley and sage.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the reserved broth. Add enough broth to the bread mixture so it is moist. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until crispy and golden, about 1 hour, covering the dish with aluminum foil if the dressing gets too dark. Serves 8 to 10.
Make-Ahead Tips: Assemble the dressing and place in the baking dish up to 1 day in advance, but do not bake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.