Squash and mushroom stuffing

November 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

So I know a lot of food magazines and blogs go whole hog for Thanksgiving, Hannukah, and Christmas. However, I’m not exactly a holiday cooking expert, as generally my relatives like to cook things their way, and usually I end up setting out hors d’oeuvres or possibly baking a dessert in advance, which is a fine compromise. But, in order to somewhat acknowledge the start of the holiday season here, I decided to make something I do know how to cook: food that is appealing to my diverse set of various-food-group-omitting friends! Thus, my online contribution to the flurry of holiday recipes invading the interwebs is a vegan, by default vegetarian, stuffing/dressing recipe that ticks all the boxes: easy to assemble, seasonal, made from easy-to-find ingredients, and most importantly, really, really delicious.

But, even if you’re not a vegetarian, don’t know any vegetarians, and have no idea what a vegan eats, this recipe is still deserving of a spot on your holiday, or anytime you’re craving stuffing, table. There’s lots of mushrooms for texture and savoriness, butternut squash because it’s gorgeous and seasonal and adds some sweetness, and dried cranberries for more color and a not-so-subtle nod to Thanksgiving. Plus I love cranberries and look for any excuse to eat them. However, you can swap out the butternut squash for the acorn squash I used for the first test run, or try dried cherries if cranberry overload threatens.

Even better for the harried holiday chef, whichever squash is selected can be roasted a few days in advance and refrigerated, ready for the big day. I also used leftover bread I collected in a bag in the freezer, though it’s probably too late to do that for Thanksgiving now…though it’s not too late if you’re gearing up for – eeek! – Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas and Hannukah, if you’re looking for easy homemade baked gifts, might I recommend these chocolatey cookies, or a twist on traditional shortbread? Or, if you’re still in Thanksgiving mode and would like to stick to one holiday at a time, thank you very much, here’s an easy, non-pie dessert, a lemon torte. It’s made from pantry and fridge ingredients you probably have on hand but tastes like you kidnapped a pastry chef.

Squash and mushroom stuffing

Serves eight to ten

Ingredients

  • One butternut squash or one to two acorn squashes (about 1.5 lbs of uncooked squash), peeled and cubed into approximately one-inch pieces
  • Four tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Four shallots, minced
  • 16 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Three tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
  • Three tablespoons fresh sage or three tablespoons fresh thyme (or a combination), finely chopped, divided
  • Three tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cups dried cranberries or dried sour cherries, chopped
  • Approximately ten cups of cubed bread, any type or mixture, left to dry overnight (I used a mix of whole wheat and baguette)
  • Four to six ounces vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the squash, then slice into approximately one-inch cubes. Combine cubed squash with one tablespoon of olive oil and stir to coat. Roast squash for twenty minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet. Mince shallots and herbs, and slice mushrooms. Cook minced shallots and about 2/3 of the herbs over medium heat for three minutes. Add in mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and cook for an additional five minutes. Once the mushrooms have softened, add in the apple cider vinegar and stir. Set aside.

3. Remove roasted squash from the oven. Add in the mushroom mixture and dried cranberries (or cherries). Mix in cubed bread and sprinkle over the remaining chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetable stock – about four ounces for drier stuffing, or up to six for softer stuffing.

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty-five minutes, or until bread is golden brown and stuffing is set. Serve hot and enjoy!

Note: Squash can be roasted in advance and refrigerated, for up to three days, until needed.

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