Sausage, Chestnut and Mushroom Dressing
The foundation for this recipe is our herbed focaccia stuffing mix, made exclusively for us by La Brea Bakery, the Southern California bakeshop that inspired the artisanal bread renaissance in 1989. Be sure to use a very large mixing bowl so you can thoroughly blend the ingredients and ensure that the croutons absorb the stock.
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 7 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh sage
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts, halved
- 1 package (1 lb.) La Brea Bakery focaccia stuffing
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 to 4 cups chicken stock, warmed
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with 1 Tbs. of the butter.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until lightly browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbs. butter. Add the onions and fennel and sauté until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Let cool to room temperature.
In a very large bowl, combine the sausage, vegetable mixture, chestnuts, stuffing and parsley. Stir in the stock 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed into the croutons. Taste a crouton; it should be moist throughout but not crunchy or mushy. You may not need all of the stock. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp,