The other day, I was talking at work about how excited I was for Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, and I often make an excuse to celebrate it twice by hosting Thanksgiving with friends. It is a carb-lover’s dream! Dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, a little turkey on the side. How can you not love it? Until my friend at work said that she in fact, did not really like Thanksgiving food. It took me a few minutes to comprehend how anyone on this earth could not love Thanksgiving food and when I finally came to, she explained that it was the dressing that just didn’t do it for her.
She liked turkey fine but not dressing which is like the craziest comment I have ever heard. Isn’t that everyone’s favorite dish on turkey day? It’s biscuits and cornbread with yummy toppings mixed in. How could it not be delicious? So, I promised her that I would change her mind because honestly, you can’t beat good dressing. This vegetarian version is my absolute favorite. Savory mushrooms, wintery herbs, and a little sweetness thanks to port-soaked golden raisins.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Wild Mushroom + Sage Cornbread Dressing
1 8×8 inch pan of your favorite cornbread, one day old
8 extra-large buttermilk biscuits (or 12 small biscuits), one day old
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms, sliced (I use shitake, baby bella, and mixed gourmet blend)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup tawny port
2 extra large eggs, beaten
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes until onions and celery soften. Remove from heat and add sage, rosemary, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
Toss sliced mushrooms with remaining tablespoon of oil and roast on a large baking sheet until cooked and browned, about 15 minutes. Check and stir often so they don’t burn. Remove from oven and mix with onion/celery mixture.
Combine raisins and port in a small jar and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave the raisins for about 1 minute, then let it cool for about 30 minutes to absorb the port. There will still be port left in the jar but your raisins should be plump.
Crumble cornbread and place in an extra large mixing bowl. Crumble the buttermilk biscuits and combine with cornbread mixture. Add vegetable mixture and port-soaked raisins (with any remaining liquid) and combine. Add 2 beaten eggs and 1-2 cups of chicken/vegetable broth. Using your hands, mix to combine. Dressing should be thoroughly mixed and hold together. Depending on how dry your bread is, you may need to add more chicken/vegetable broth to achieve desired moistness. Add 1/2 cup at a time until the dressing is moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer dressing into a buttered 10×14 inch baking pan. Sprinkle top lightly with broth. Bake until lightly browned on top, approximately 45 minutes.