Shiitake & Leek Dressing (Vegan)
In the test kitchen, there are more dressing people than mashed potato people. Which is to say that if forced to choose between the two — by circumstance or appetite — we’d always go for the dressing. It’s simply more rarified: mashed potatoes happen all the time, dressing comes but one day a year.
We’re also in the camp that believes dressing should be a bit like a savory bread pudding. In this recipe, we’ve sautéed leeks, walnuts, and a few handfuls of shiitake mushrooms in a generous amount of olive oil. That mixture gets tossed with veggie broth, great, big toasty sourdough cubes, and lots of herbs. The olive oil and the broth not only help all those flavorsome bits cohere, but also keep the dressing nice and moist — but not too moist.
It comes out of the oven with just the right proportion of crispy, toasty bits to lovely, moist bits. It smells like a traditional sage dressing, and it has a nice, rich flavor thanks to the perfumy leeks and the shiitakes’ earthy umami. The crunch of the walnuts is great too. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
¾ sourdough boule, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup leeks, chopped
½ cup Gelson’s walnuts, chopped
4 cups shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp Gelson’s organic sage leaves, torn
1 Tbsp Gelson’s organic tarragon, torn
Lemon juice, to taste
½ cup scallions, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°.
On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the sourdough bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
Bake the sourdough cubes until lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Set them aside.
In a large Dutch oven or a deep skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat, add the leeks and cook until softened, stirring, about 3 minutes.
Add the walnuts and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook until softened, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth, bread cubes, parsley, sage, and tarragon, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Scoop the dressing into a casserole dish measuring 9 x 13 inches, and press it down. Drizzle a little lemon juice over the dressing. Note: The dressing can be made ahead up to this point. Cover it and keep it refrigerated for up to one day before proceeding.
Bake the dressing for 30 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with the scallions and serve warm.