A delightful mushroom dressing/stuffing inspired by oyster dressing, with a rich, slightly sweet flavour and a subtle hint of the ocean. Perfect for gracing a holiday spread, or for a cool day aside some mash and topped with a nice brown gravy. You can serve this as is for a side, or use it for stuffing your favorite roast, or perhaps a squash, or possibly some bell peppers…you can customise this easily by throwing in a 1/2 cup or so of cooked wild rice, chopped nuts, or some fresh herbs if you’d like, but it’s perfectly divine as is.
680g | 1 ½ lbs of bread, cut into cubes (finer textured breads work best)
240g | 8oz (½ lb) thinly sliced mushrooms
200g | 1 ½ cup finely chopped onion
100g | 1 cup finely chopped celery
70g | ½ cup finely chopped shallots
35g | ⅓ cup packed finely chopped italian parsley
240g/ml | 1 cup light vegetable broth
120g/ml | ½ cup water
6g | 2”x4” piece of kombu, broken up
40g | 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2.3g | 1 ½ tsp dried sage
2.3g | 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1g | ¼ tsp garam masala
1g | 1 tsp dried marjoram
¼ cup neutral oil, ghee, or a mixture of both
4.5g | ¾ tsp fine salt
The night before:
Spread out bread cubes on a baking tray, and allow to sit out overnight
Place kombu in broth and water and place in fridge to sit overnight
The day of:
Heat oven to 350F
Toast bread cubes until completely dry and lightly toasted (timing will depend on how type of bread and how dry bread was at start, anywhere from 5-20 minutes typically) then set aside to cool (leave oven on)
Bring broth, water and kombu to a simmer, continue to simmer, covered for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and allow to rest for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, sautee mushrooms in oil over medium-high heat until cooked through and lightly browned
Add celery, onions, and shallots to the pan with the mushrooms and continue to sautee until onions are translucent and golden (if the mixture seems to be sticking or burning to pan, simply add a little water)
Remove from heat and add in remaining ingredients, minus the bread cubes
Place bread cubes into a bowl or baking dish large enough to allow mixing, add the solids from your pan (you don’t have to strain or be super precise, just scoop what you can out with a spoon) and mix together
Drizzle in your liquid while mixing to evenly coat
Place in baking dish (if you used a bowl for mixing) and flatten out dressing, pressing down firmly
Cover with foil or oven-safe lid and place in oven, bake for 40 minutes, rotating once during cooking
Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the dressing is desired dryness and lightly browned (if you prefer a moister dressing, you may skip this entirely)
Pull from oven and cover and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before serving (this allows moisture level to even back out)
remember if you're making gluten free to choose a gluten-free bread (duh) and make sure your oyster sauce is also gluten free. if making soy free, use a soy free oyster sauce (there are suggestions for making it yourself in our oyster sauce recipe.)
Maybe you’re luckier than i am, but finding unseasoned bread cubes suitable for dressing is just impossible where i am, so this recipe uses fresh bread to make it accessible to everyone, you’ll want to use a finer textured sandwich style bread here, so skip the fancy baguettes and ciabatta for this. I highly recommend using a whole grain bread, though the choice is yours, i will suggest avoiding breads with lots of seeds, they tend to create an unpleasant texture in the dressing and can also cause your bread to break apart excessively when mixing. You’re also welcome to use your favorite gluten-free bread here if that’s your thing, you may have to be a little more gentle in the mixing process, some of them break down a little quicker when moistened, just use your best judgement.
Now this recipe does require prep the night before you’re making, you need time to hydrate and extract the best flavour from the kombu prior to simmering it, AND you want to dry out your bread crumbs (a little) slowly overnight. The best way i’ve found to do this is to place them on a tray in the oven (not on) with the door slightly held open, you can also cover them with a kitchen towel (or towels), the goal here is to slightly stale the bread and provide a little bounce to it, giving it a slightly chewier texture and it helps it to hold up later with the mixing.
The first thing you’re going to want to do (after your overnight prep) is to simmer your kombu in the broth and water you’ve soaked it in overnight, then you’re going to let it steep while you toast your bread. For the toasting (and drying) you’re simply going to place them on a baking tray in a 350F oven until they’re nice and hard, with a lovely golden brown hue. The timing on this all depends on the bread and how dry they were to begin with, so just keep an eye on them after the first 5 minutes or so, you don’t want them to burn (which they can do REALLY fast) but you want them pretty dry. Once they’re toasted, remove them from the oven and set them aside (on the tray) to cool and dry a little more.
Now that we’ve covered all the steps you have to take before making this stuff for reals, let’s go over the ingredients (i’m skipping the bread since i already covered that part.) First off we have some kombu, broth, and water….these are what get steeped in the fridge overnight, if you forgot to do that part for some reason, don’t worry, you can also steep them at room temp for about 20 minutes (but you’ll get far better flavour with the overnight steep.) This then gets simmered for a little bit, allowed to steep, then the kombu is removed/strained out and discarded. What you’re left with is a lightly oceanic mild broth that we’ll be using for the bulk of our moisture here. The other liquid component is oyster sauce (vegan of course) and while i HIGHLY recommend the recipe here on the site, you can use a commercially made one (sometimes labeled as “vegetarian stir fry sauce”) if that’s what you have, but the flavour will be different and they are often sweeter, and sometimes saltier, so you may need to reduce or eliminate the added salt in the recipe.
For our vegge components we have thinly sliced mushrooms, which you can use whatever varieties you want here, we suggest a mixture of shiitake and cremini, though oyster, white button, or maitake would all be good. We have onions, shallots and celery to bring in added moisture, sweetness, and texture to the dish, while providing their own aromatic and classic dressing flavours to the dish. Italian parsley brings in some nice green notes and some umami, helping to balance things out and provide contrast to the mushrooms and oyster sauce. For our herbs, it’s a pretty classic combo of sage, thyme, and marjoram….and a little curve ball of a hint of garam masala, which is just enough to add a whisper of spice element and really enhances the dish, you won’t actually notice the flavour of it specifically, it is a very small amount, but it just does something magical to meld all the flavours together and round them out. IF you don’t have any on hand, you can use an equal amount of black pepper in it’s place, which will serve a similar function, but for real, use the garam masala. (seriously, use it)
Your mushrooms, onion, shallot, and celery all get sauteed in a good bit of fat (you can use ghee or oil for this, don’t use butter or margarine as they tend to scorch and overly brown), then all the rest of your ingredients get tossed in (minus the bread) and mixed up together. Then you’re going to take your bread cubes and put them into either your baking dish (if it’s large enough to hold everything AND be able to mix, if you have an oven safe stock pot, it works wonders for this) and then scoop in your solids from the pan. You don’t have to be super careful or strain anything, you’re just trying to get the chunky stuff all mixed before you add all your liquid, this makes mixing everything evenly way easier and less of a chance that your bread will breakdown too much. Then you drizzle in your liquid (or add in batches) while mixing, place it into your baking dish (if it’s not also your mixing vessel) press everything down, put a cover on top and pop in the oven. If you want to use this as a stuffing, simply stuff whatever it is you are stuffing and proceed as you will.
If you’re using foil as a cover, and your dressing will be touching it, AND you happen to have some cooking spray about, mist the top of the dressing AND the foil to help minimise the amount of dressing you’ll end up with stuck to said foil. If you really like some crispy top on your dressing, you can also do this, as it will help the top crisp up during the open baking. So you’ll do the bulk of your baking with the dressing covered, then a 10 minute (or longer if you like) baking uncovered to just help things brown a little at the end, and dry out a bit. If you prefer a moist dressing (we like ours on the dry side) simply skip this part OR sprinkle a little water on before the open baking (you can always add a little bit of water after the baking if it is too dry for you, don’t use broth though, this is already a very flavourful dish and that will make it too rich.)
A little trick i’ve thrown in, to get the best texture and an even moisture level throughout, when you take your dressing out, cover it again and let it rest for 10 minutes (or longer if you need to) before serving, this allows everything to settle in so you don’t end up with a really dry top and a moist bottom. If you’re making this ahead to reheat later, or you’re warming up leftovers, sprinkle some extra water on top, it tends to reheat drier. Also, feel free to reduce the recipe, this one is a big one designed for holidays and gatherings, or if you’re a big dressing freak, make it as is and munch it all yourself, that’s cool too. As i mentioned in the beginning, you can amp this up by tossing in about half a cup of cooked wild rice, chopped nuts, or some fresh herbs, that’s all up to you.