Monday, November 23, 2009

Porcini, Chestnut Stuffing

This isn't technically an italian recipe, but I created it while living here because of my love for porcini and chestnuts which are in season in Tuscany in the Fall. I love having our Italian friends over for Thanksgiving. Their response is always the same when we invite them, "We've only seen it in the movies". Whole turkeys are an anomaly and none of our Italian friends have ever seen a whole roasted turkey before. They take pictures and ooh and ahh over everything. It is the only proud moment with American cuisine that I have so I live it up. Here is my favorite stuffing recipe.

1 1/2 loaves of bread (tuscan or rustic NOT sliced bread) torn or cut into 1 inch pieces (20 cups) Dried
1/2 stick (2 oz) butter
1/4 cup olive oil ( for sauteing)
4 1/2 cups boiling water
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
10 oz fresh mushrooms (whatever you like)
roasted chestnuts (you decide how many)
1 onion
4 shallots, quartered
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 carrots, halved then sliced crosswise
3 garlic cloved, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt q.b. (means quante basta)
pepper q.b.

Pour hot water over dried porcini and soak 20 minutes, then drain, squeezing porcini and reserving soaking liquid. Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out water and chop.

Heat butter and oil in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides then cook fresh mushrooms, onion, and shallots until golden 10 minutes.

Add celery, carrots, garlic, porcini, chestnuts and cook, stirring another 5 minutes or so. Stir in thyme, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Stir cooked mixture together with the bread and add 1 cup reserved porcini-soaking liquid to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat while scraping up browned bits. Add remaining soaking liquid and pour over bread mixture. Adjust seasonings and toss to coat evenly.

Spread stuffing in a baking dish which has been coated with butter and cover tightly with buttered foil then bake in upper third of oven until heated through about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake stuffing until top is browned 10 minutes more. If stuffing becomes too dry add vegetable or turkey stock to moisten.

Can be made two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

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