Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vegetarian Stuffing

I found the inspiration for this recipe on Elise's Simply Recipes blog. I've adapted it to be vegetarian. I also substituted egg bread for french bread and pecans for walnuts. The addition of fresh mushrooms makes up for flavor lost when you omit meat broth. The result is a stuffing that everyone (even meat-eaters) says is the best stuffing they've ever tasted.

If you have old tortillas, you can mix those in with the cubed bread, too, for that special Mexican touch.

Note: This recipe can easily be made vegan by substituting any day old vegan bread for the egg bread and margarine (transfat-free, please!) or olive oil for the butter.

  • 1 loaf day-old egg bread (such as challah or Oaxacan bread), cubed or shredded into 3/4-inch pieces (about 10-12 cups)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 cups each, chopped onion, celery, and fresh mushrooms
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup of dried cranberries or raisins or a mix of both
  • 1 cup to 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage or "hierbas finas" (the closest thing to poultry seasoning you'll find in Mexico) to taste
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  1. Toast the pecans by heating them in a frying pan on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until they are slightly browned (not burned). When in doubt, err on the side of undercooking them, because they keep cooking for a bit after removing them from the heat. OR put them in the microwave on high until you can smell the aroma of them toasting, about a minute or two. Let them cool while you are toasting the bread, then roughly chop them.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or clay pot on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pot, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, sauté chopped onions, celery, and mushrooms on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add to the bread. Add cooked chopped pecans. Add chopped green apple, dried cranberries or raisins, and parsley. Add one cup of water or vegetable broth (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add poultry seasoning or sage or hierbas finas, and salt & pepper.
  4. Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every ten minutes or so and add water or broth as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Serves 8-10.

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