Thanksgiving is here! Well...it was here.
I know that the turkey is the centerpiece of the holiday, but me? I get excited about the side dishes. And you know what my number one favorite side is? STUFFING.
I looove bread (gimme carbs all day), and whoever came up with the idea to mix bread with a bunch of other delicious things - like baby bella mushrooms and oysters - and then bake it into a tender, crunchy, flavorful side dish was one smart cookie.
Another reason why I probably love this so much is because I really only have it once a year at Thanksgiving. That's partially because stuffing is just kind of a Thanksgiving food, and also mainly because I didn't have my mom's recipe. So this year, I was glued to her side with pencil and paper (and also making her measure things before she put them in) so that I, too, can make this glorious stuffing...whenever I want!
*Side note - I think technically this should be called dressing instead of stuffing since it's not stuffed inside the turkey, but using the term dressing is confusing to me because then I think of salad dressing. So I will continue to call this stuffing.
Even if you don't like oysters (Pete doesn't) - I bet you'll love this (Pete does). Stuffing is such a comfort food, and the oysters give this so much flavor without the snottiness (you know what I mean) that can sometimes be associated with oysters on the half shell. The mushrooms add a savory meatiness, the veggies give it flavor & texture, and the Panko crisps up the top.
First things first: you need to use a LARGE PAN. I mean it...a big one.
Start by sautéing your veggies and herbs in your large pan.
The mushrooms will release a lot of water, but that's a good thing - that will moisten the stuffing so don't cook it off. Once you've slightly sautéed your veggies (as my mom said - "don't cook the crap out of them"), add in your oysters, pulling them apart a little bit with your fingers as you do.
Stir in the package of stuffing mix, the focaccia cubes and season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
If your stuffing is looking too dry, you can add in some broth. At this point - you also want to taste it for seasoning and add more salt/pepper/cayenne if your heart so desires. Right now it's totally safe to eat but you're about to add in raw egg...so taste it now!
Stir in the egg lightly beaten with some broth, and transfer the whole mixture into a baking dish. Top it with the Panko and drizzle with olive oil to help the top brown.
Pop that beast in the oven and get ready for THIS.
I know Thanksgiving is over, but come on - you know you didn't get enough leftovers. Make this and I promise...yummy noises await you!
Thanksgiving stuffing loaded with oysters, baby bella mushrooms and herbs.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 celery heart, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped - divided into two 1/4 cup portions
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (about 8 sprigs)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 14 oz package herb seasoned stuffing, (like Pepperidge Farm)
- 6 cups focaccia bread, cubed (about 1/2 loaf)
- 3 pints oysters, drained & separated
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup broth (any kind), plus up to 2 cups more if needed
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Heat olive oil in a LARGE pan over medium-high heat. (Your pan should be large enough to fit all of the ingredients.)
Sauté garlic, mushrooms, celery, onion, green pepper and herbs until slightly softened, reserving 1/4 cup of the fresh parsley (set aside). The mushrooms will release a lot of water and that's what we want, don't cook it off because that's what will moisten the stuffing.
Mix in stuffing mix and bread cubes and cook until well combined, a few more minutes. If your mixture is looking dry, you can add some broth. The mixture should be very moist throughout but not soupy.
Use your fingers to separate oysters into small bite-sized pieces (separate each oyster into about 2-3 pieces) as you add them to the mixture.
Add salt, pepper, cayenne and reserved parsley. Taste for seasoning, add more if desired.
Beat eggs with 1/2 cup broth and mix in. Transfer entire mixture to a buttered or nonstick sprayed baking dish. (If making ahead, cover with foil and store now.)
Top with Panko and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.