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Wild mushroom stuffing is a must for the holiday season. The combination of mushrooms, nuts, a little bacon, herbs, and onions, bound with some egg, makes a satisfying side dish all winter long.
My favorite stuffings (or dressings, depending on your preference) are those with mushrooms, a little meat, and some sort of nut — in this case, chanterelles, salami and bacon, and some wild pine nuts. These ingredients work well together and form the backbone of this riff off a classic stuffing.
You can make this wild mushroom stuffing as easy or as complicated as you want. I generally take a middle ground by using store-bought stuffing croutons, and I will often use mushrooms I have previously sauteed and frozen.
Technically speaking this is a wild mushroom dressing, not a stuffing, because it is not stuffing anything. “Dressing” is served in a casserole alongside other things.
Almost no one stuffs birds anymore, largely for food safety reasons, but this recipe can work either way. If you do use it as a proper stuffing, make sure it’s cool before you stuff the bird with it.
As with most mushroom recipes, you can use whatever mushroom your heart settles on to make this stuffing. I used chanterelles here, because I like their color and texture in the stuffing. But in this case, any edible mushroom will work — even dried ones.
If you go with dried mushrooms, rehydrate them by pouring a few cups of boiling water over them. Strain any debris out of the soaking water and use that instead of, or in addition to, the stock you use in the stuffing.
I prefer pine nuts in my wild mushroom stuffing, but, like the mushrooms, you do you. Pecans, hickory nuts, walnuts or butternuts are all good options, as are pistachios or even cashews.
Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Stuffing
I start this stuffing with bacon and/or diced salami, but you can skip that and use butter instead, or oil if you want to make it vegan.
Obviously you’d want to use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of a meat stock, too.
Here are some tips for a better wild mushroom stuffing:
- Pack the mixture into your casserole. This compacts it enough so you can serve it in squares, and, later, fry leftovers in butter!
- Toast the nuts beforehand, or fry them in the bacon fat or butter.
- Cook the stuffing longer than you think. You want some browned bits on the edges and top. People fight over these.
- Egg is your decision. I like adding egg to stuffing because it’s a nice binder, but many people skip it. So long as you compact the stuffing in the casserole dish, you should be OK.
You can make a wild mushroom stuffing up to a few days before you serve, then reheat it in its casserole dish at 350F for about 30 minutes. You can freeze it, too.
Leftovers are excellent reheated in a toaster oven or fried in butter or oil.
Ideas for Serving
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Wild Mushroom Stuffing
- 4 cups stuffing croutons
- 2 cups stock chicken, game, vegetable or mushroom
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 pound chanterelles or other mushrooms, chopped
- 1 ounce salami, diced small (optional)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, or other nuts
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or savory
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Soak the bread croutons in 1 cup of stock. Chop or tear the chanterelles into medium-sized pieces; leave the small ones whole. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add the chanterelles and dry sauté them, shaking and stirring them constantly, until they give up their water. Rehydrated dried mushrooms don't need this step, but most fresh ones do.
- When most of the mushrooms’ water has cooked away, remove them from the pan and add the bacon. Cook until crispy, then eat a piece. Chop the rest for the stuffing.
- Add the salami (if using), onion and celery and toss to combine. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle them with salt. Add the mushrooms back to the mix, along with the thyme and pine nuts and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the sauté pan into a large bowl and mix with the bread croutons and the parsley. Add the other cup of stock, and the beaten eggs, if using. Mix well. Fill a casserole with the dressing, cover and bake 30 minutes. Take the cover off and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top browns.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.