Once the holidays end, I think we forget how good a side dish dressings are during the winter. This dressing recipe is inspired by my mother. I tried to recreate one of her food memories from her childhood. My grandfather cooked with many Italian influences that he gathered from both his childhood and his days working at sea. This recipe is based on my mother’s memory combined with my own Italian food memories. The results is a delicious combination of ingredients featuring both porcini and baby bella mushrooms combined with chestnuts . It’s a perfect complement to roasted pork or poultry. This one is for you Mom with all my love !
From by the bay wishing you porcini food memories!
Porcini Mushroom and Chestnut Dressing
Serves 6 to 8
8 cups country bread, cut into ½ inch cubes with crust, approximately 1 loaf bread
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 ounces pancetta, cubed
8 ounces mushrooms such as Baby Bella, cleaned and sliced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced in rings
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
11/2 tablespoons fennel seed
1 jar whole roasted chestnuts, 14.8 ounces
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup porcini liquid
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
In a medium bowl add the dried porcini mushrooms and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. On two baking sheets toss the bread cubes with 1/2 cup olive oil and then spread the bread in a single layer on two rimmed large baking sheets. Bake about 10-12 minutes until bread is golden brown. Set aside to cool, then place in a large mixing bowl. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add pancetta and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and place in the mixing bowl with the bread. To the same skillet used for the pancetta heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and then add the leeks. Saute until softened about 10 minutes, separating the leek rings, then add the Baby Bella sliced mushrooms and red chili flakes and saute until softened another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the bread and pancetta. To this bowl add the chestnuts crumbling them. Add the cheese, thyme leaves, fennel seeds and parsley to the bowl. Take the bowl with the porcini and remove the porcini mushrooms keeping the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the bowl with the dressing. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any dirt or grit at the bottom of the bowl and add one cup of this liquid to your dressing. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Mix the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. If dressing is not moist add some additional chicken stock. Mix well. The dressing can be made up to this point one day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake. To bake the dressing, remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, until dressing is heated through the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.