Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rustic-style Herbed Bread Dressing with Sausage & Mushrooms


Most years I make a typical southern-style cornbread dressing similar to what was served in my home on Thanksgiving when I was a child, but I was in the mood for a change this year and wanted to try my hand at a bread based dressing. Slightly spicy sweet Italian sausage and rich earthy cremini mushrooms bring a lot of hearty flavors to this rustic-style herb bread dressing. Using artisan bread adds another dimension of freshness instead of using the dried packaged bread stuffing mix. And of course it’s not dressing without the traditional flavors of fresh thyme and sage herbs. An aromatic mirepoix of vegetables rounds out the dish. I did increase the amount of fresh thyme and sage by half again from the original recipe, so if you think that might be too herby for your family’s taste, cut them back to one tablespoon each.


I’ve used cremini mushrooms in this recipe. Often you’ll see them labeled baby portabellos or baby bellas. The differences between white button mushrooms, cremini and portabellos can be confusing and what it boils down to a matter of their age. The cultivated white button mushrooms are the youngest variety of button mushrooms. When the mushroom is left to grow for longer and become mature, they turn brown, their tops spread out and that is the portabello. The cremini mushroom is the one in between. It is a moderately mature version of the white button mushroom yet younger than the portabello, hence the name baby portabellos or baby bellas.



Cranberry sauce is one of my Thanksgiving specialties and I will be posting several versions early next week for those of you that love cranberry sauce, so stay tuned. Here’s a close-up of the herbed bread dressing. Dig in with your fork


Rustic-style Herbed Bread Dressing with Sausage & Mushrooms
Adapted from Wine, Food & Friends by Karen MacNeil, based on a Lightened-up Recipe Makeover from Cooking Light, yield 12 servings

1 ½ pounds peasant-style artisan white bread
4 (4 ounce) links sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage in casings
2 teaspoons sweet butter
1 pound cremini or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, tough stems trimmed off, then quartered
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1 ¼ cups chopped mild white or yellow onion
1 ¼ cups peeled & chopped carrots
1 ¼ cups chopped celery
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade if you have it)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut bread into 1” cubes and arrange in a single layer on a half sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Toss half way through to insure evening browning. Remove from the oven and place in an extra large mixing bowl. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Cook sausage links in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until they are cooked through, browning evenly on all sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside until they are cool enough to slice. After they are sliced, add to the bowl with the bread cubes.

In that same skillet, melt 2 teaspoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until they’ve given up their liquid, salting about half way though. Add them to the bowl along with the bread.

Carefully wipe out the skillet and add the 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery over medium-high heat until they have softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt and freshly ground black and sauté one minute to incorporate. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the bread, sausages and mushrooms.

Whisk together the eggs and chicken broth. Stir the liquid into the bread mixture to moisten and toss well to coat. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then spread the bread mixture evenly in the dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve warm. Yield 12 servings.



This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.  



41 comments:

  1. Believe it or not, my sons aren't fond of stuffing so I don't make it often, but I've been craving it this year! This recipe sounds great Sam, think I'll whip up some artisan bread dough today and let it work its magic in the fridge for the next week:@)

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  2. Sam, your beautiful photo has officially gotten me in the mood for a big Thanksgiving meal. And do you know, I've never had a corn bread dressing, always one like this. And your recipe sounds much like I've always made. However, I'm loving the addition of the sausage. mmmmm

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  3. Kinda funny, Sam -- I was thinking of switching to cornbread stuffing this year! But this twist on tradition just might make me change my mind back, maybe even forget about the turkey. Great stuffing.

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  4. Yummeous! :-)

    Love the fact that you are making your own bread cubes: I am going to cut 6 loaves of white artisan bread tonight, for our stuffing. My stuffing has a lot of leeks, some beacon, parsley, thyme, sage (yes!), and milk instead of broth. Everybody loves it and I am not allowed to change the recipe. One year I made some extra cornbread stuffing, and even though everyone agreed it was very good, they went right back to the original one. ;-) I also bake the stuffing in a ceramic baking dish.

    We are celebrating this Saturday, so everybody can join us, since Thanksgiving's not a holiday here. I have been making stock, cutting and mincing and sauteing most of the past weekend, my freezer's full now. I am panicking a little right now because I can't find good pecan nuts! Will have to do with frozen ones from last year, I am afraid.

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  5. Do you even need the turkey with this dressing? A little gravy (yes, I put gravy on my dressing) and a side of cranberry sauce seems just right to me.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  6. This dressing would pack a punch to any meal Sam. Adding the chunks of sausage makes me want to eat this alone.

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  7. Rustic and mighty tasy, I'm sure! A scrumptious combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  8. Confession. In my family of reasonably focused cooks we just use bagged Pepperidge Farms. I bet this tastes incredible.

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  9. The pictures are making my mouth water! I grew up with a similar dressing. We used regular breakfast sausage crumbled and no mushrooms. Now I want to go make some dressing!

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  10. Love the sound of this dressing!! I'm eating at my daughter's house for Thanksgiving, so I won't be making any stuffing, but I just might have to get us a little turkey for later so that I can try this!

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  11. Now that's a stuffing:) Oh my son in law would love this so much..pinning for next yr..as we have done TG already..
    Have a lovely one Sam..in Fl?

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  12. I could eat the entire plate!! Looks so delicious, Sam.

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  13. I think yours is one of the prettiest stuffings I've ever seen Sam! Love all the flavors going on in here!

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  14. Your dressing is very pretty and has the things I like.

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  15. Beautiful Sam. I would make this in a minute. Wish I was cooking this year.

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  16. Look at the textures and colors in this bread stuffing- A definite notch above tradition flat stuffing. I prefer this style. Now, that I have seen this recipe, I think I may have to shake my recipe up too.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  17. Oh, wonderful!! This looks delicious. I'm in charge of the dressing and the mashed potatoes again this year for our feast and I was thinking I would make a regular bread dressing to go with my cornbread dressing. I love the mix of sausage and mushrooms in this ~ I think I'll use that myself. I'm looking forward to the cranberry recipes.

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  18. wowo, look at that charred bread loaf color, so beautifull!
    nice kickin flavour with herbs too.....

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  19. We usually have classic white for TG, but I want to try this maybe with chicken or pork chops. Actually I think I could make a meal of this - it is gorgeous. In California if you ordered dressing they would bring you a salad, they call it stuffing. I disagree, I think it is dressing unless it is stuffed in a bird.

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  20. Very interesting information on the age of mushrooms - I didn't know any of that. I am a stuffing addict from way back, and the look of this is lovely - I like the fact that you can see the slices of sausage - definitely a crowd pleaser!

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  21. Baby Bellas have lots of flavor and I like using them in combination with shiitake. Your stuffing looks marvelous, Sam. My kids always wanted chestnuts in their stuffing, so no matter what kind I make, chestnuts go in. Believe it or not, I've never made a cornbread stuffing. Have you ever posted your recipe for that?
    BTW: I could eat stuffing for dinner. Forget the turkey. Hem.

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    1. Barbara, thanks for asking about the cornbread dressing. I have never done a post on it, but mine is very similar to the Pioneer Woman's recipe except I use a whole lot LESS butter. Here a link to her recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/11/stuffing_dressing_my_favorite_thanksgiving_food/
      Sam

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  22. Thanks for the info about the mushrooms, Sam. I didn't realize that it is a matter of maturity and not a different variety. I agree with Barbara, I would be very happy with a plate of this beautiful stuffing without the turkey.

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  23. Hi Sam, I love this recipe! I always enjoy colorful food and this stuffing is beautiful. The colors are great and I'm sure it's delicious!

    Bill @ www.southernboydishes.com

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  24. Sage. I need sage! I knew I left something off my list and my sage plant died last year.

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  25. OK, this could easily be my Thanksgiving dinner with a little cranberry sauce, and pecan pie for dessert! Love this with the mushrooms!

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  26. Dear Sam, This is a beautiful stuffing and the pictures are great!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  27. Hi Sam,
    I could make my whole meal with this awesome dressing, it looks fabulous!

    Thanks so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your Thanksgiving week!
    Come Back Soon
    Miz Helen

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  28. This looks so delicious and so flavorful! Stuffing is one of my absolute favorites, I could just eat it by itself!! This looks so good with the sausage and mushrooms!

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  29. Sam, this looks soooo good! I love bread in dressings like this because they really soak up the juices and the flavors and hen get those perfect crispy edges. Adding the mushrooms and sausage would actually made this an entire meal for us! Wishing you and Meakin a very Happy Thanksgiving xoxo

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  30. I could make a meal of just the dressing...it sounds great!

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  31. Mmmm - what a perfect stuffing recipe - I love a some sausage in stuffing - this sounds delicious
    Mary x

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  32. I so enjoy reading about the food traditions and cultures of people from different countries - it absolutely fascinates me. Sam, your dressing looks absolutely wonderful, and I could happily eat that whole dish of it, but it seems so strange to me to call it "dressing" as that is a term we use only for the liquid that one pours over a salad. In New Zealand we don't even celebrate Thanksgiving, but we do often have turkey at Christmas time which may have stuffing inside it, or not, depending on your personal tastes. But we don't generally have any kind of dish like this that is served alongside the turkey. It looks wonderful.

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  33. looks so good, have a great thanksgiving

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  34. Terrific stuffing. Those dried packages of bread just don't compare with using good sturdy fresh bread. This is a meal all by itself.

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  35. Beautiful dish of rustic dressing-this is exactly how I like it on Thanksgiving day with plenty of herbs, mushrooms, sausage and cubes of a good hearty bread, sometimes I use both cornbread and french bread because it's hard to choose between the two -they are both so good! Happy Thanksgiving ;)

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  36. This is a great recipe. And you have very nice plate, I adore.

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  37. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Miz Helen

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  38. Wow, this sounds great! We had Thanksgiving out this year, but I want to make a note of this, Sam. It sounds delicious. Love the fact that you can use turkey sausage!

    xo

    Sheila

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  39. Sam, could you actually use this as stuffing and put it inside the turkey?

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam