With all of the concerns about food safety, most people (Alton Brown included) don't actually stuff their bird anymore. So since you are going to make the stuffing separately anyhow, make this delicious version with wild mushrooms to satisfy both vegetarians and omnivores.
The mushrooms throw off a lot of water while they are sauteeing. We drain that liquid right onto the bread to amp up the flavor. For the vegetable broth, you want a clear variety, not a thick soup. Seitenbacher makes an excellent broth powder that I always keep on hand. Another option, if you are a true fungi-lover, is to make your own broth by boiling a big handful of dried shiitake mushrooms.
I suggest a mix of half chanterelles, with their magical scent of apricots, and half crimini or white mushrooms. You could certainly use other wild mushrooms instead. Oyster mushrooms or morels would be especially good. Another nice addition would be a cup of toasted pecans.
- 12 ounces rustic bread cut into 1-inch cubes, stale is fine
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium white onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces button or crimini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 12 ounces chanterelle or other wild mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage leaf or Herbes de Provence
- 2 cups clear vegetable broth (not all at once, adjust as needed)
- Salt to taste
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves, minced
Put the cubed bread in a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and garlic for 1 minute, until soft but not browned. Add both types of mushrooms, the bay leaves, smoked paprika and sage leaf and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently. As they throw off liquid, drain it onto the bread cubes and toss. Repeat every couple of minutes until the mushrooms are tender and browned. Add the mushrooms to the bread and toss.
Add vegetable broth, 1/2 cup at a time, tossing in between until you achieve the texture you like. Taste and adjust for salt. Just before serving, mix in the parsley.