There are so many great meat-free sausage options now (no, seriously), but whether you choose to make it with meat or a substitute, this stuffing will win you over. That is, if like me, you love mushrooms in stuffing, and think that cranberries at the Thanksgiving table belong only in the cranberry sauce. I know, I mean, obviously. What’s wrong with those other people.

oyster mushroom, sausage and herb stuffing

Oyster Mushroom, Sausage and Herb Stuffing

*Use store-bought croutons or make your own: Slice 1-inch cubes from a stale loaf of bread (sourdough works well), toss with a little olive oil, dried sage, thyme, rosemary etc. and salt and pepper and toast them on a baking sheet in a 350F degree oven for 10-15 minutes, tossing every 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

Extra virgin olive oil
370 g meat-free sausage (like this smoked apple and sage one), or other sweet sausage, removed from casing and crumbled in medium pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 heaping cup)
1 lb oyster mushrooms, woody stems trimmed, torn into medium-sized pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 c dry sherry
1/4 c chopped parsley leaves
1 tbs sliced fresh sage leaves
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp unsalted butter
4 c flavored croutons*
1 egg
1/2 c vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Brown sausage in 1 tbs of oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Remove from skillet and set aside. If using meat sausages which have rendered fat, remove all but 1 tablespoon. Otherwise, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the onions. Fry, stirring occasionally, until they have started to brown, then add the celery and mushrooms, stir once in a while and press against the skillet but leave mostly undisturbed to allow the mushrooms to turn slightly golden. Add the sausage back, add the salt and pepper, stir and continue to cook for a few minutes more. Add sherry and deglaze pan, scraping the bottom and cook for about a minute until the sherry mostly cooks off. Add herbs, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.

Grease a 9 X 11 inch (approx.) baking dish with the butter. Add croutons to the dish, then pour the mushroom and sausage mixture over top and mix well. Break the egg into a bowl and whisk, combine well with the broth and pour evenly over the baking dish. Stir to combine. Cover well with foil and bake for half an hour, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

This story and recipe appear in THANKSGIVING, Issue 004 of Le Sauce Magazine.