Brown Butter, Sage, and Wild Mushroom Dressing

Brown Butter, Sage, and Wild Mushroom Dressing
Yield 6-8 portions
Estimated Time , plus resting
Difficulty medium
Special requirements Saucepan, Large skillet, Large bowl, 13x9x2 glass baking dish, Medium saucepan

For the past five years, this has been my family’s go-to Thanksgiving dressing recipe. It came to be thanks to two unexpected circumstances coming together at the same time. The first was meeting my partner; this was our first Thanksgiving together and she mostly eats vegetarian. That means our normally meat-filled dressing wasn’t going to cut it. The second was my best friend being the definition of extra.

See, my friend was driving through Pennsylvania on his way to Thanksgiving at his parents, and in doing so, he was going to pass by mushroom farms. Did you know Pennsylvania grows the majority of all mushrooms in the country? He called and asked if I wanted some mushrooms, I said yes, and he turned up with a 5lb box of mixed mushrooms, ranging from portobello to oysters to shiitakes to creminis, all for $16. Long story short: I had more mushrooms than I knew what to do with.

From there, the rest of the recipe kinda fell together. I found potato bread stuffing cubes at my supermarket, and thought it’d be a nice addition. The slightly sweet, slightly earthy, super soft qualities of potato bread happen to make for amazing stuffing cubes. I didn’t want to use chicken stock like I normally would, and like the potato bread cubes, I found mushroom stock at my supermarket, something I thought would give better flavor than just vegetable stock (fortifying with the dried mushrooms came the year after) I was (and still am) a little obsessed with brown butter, and knew that its nuttiness would go well with the mushrooms and goes with sage, so the butter and aromatics just fell into place.

As if you needed any more proof how much I love this dressing, the first Thanksgiving after I was diagnosed with diabetes and was keeping myself on a very strict 30 grams of net carbs per day diet, I wrote this note in my low-carb Thanksgiving recipe guide:

While not technically low carb, the actual bread used is 16g net carbs per cup, and if you’re going to splurge on carbs for any part of the meal, it may as well be the dressing.

Ingredient Amount Procedure
Active: 15 minutes
Mushroom stock 4 cups
Dried shitake mushrooms 5
Dried porcini mushrooms 5
  1. Add mushroom stock and dried mushrooms into a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Once done, remove from the heat and discard the dried mushrooms

Active: 15 minutes
Mixed wild mushrooms 700g
Large yellow onion 1
Thyme, finely shopped 2 tbsp
Sage, finely chopped 3 tbsp
Garlic 5 cloves
Unsalted butter 2 tbsp
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper To taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter, and sauté onions until they become translucent, about 4 minutes

  3. Add garlic, thyme, and sage, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute

  4. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms have given up most of their water and are soft and caramelized

  5. Add fortified mushroom stock and bring to a simmer

Active: 5 minutes
Potato bread, cut into bite-sized cubes 570g
Large eggs 2
  1. Lightly beat both eggs

  2. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms mixture, stuffing cubes, and eggs together and mix. The dressing should be very wet. Add more mushroom stock as needed

Active: 5 minutes | Inactive: 60 minutes | Rest: 10 minutes
Unsalted butter, plus more for greasing 4 tbsp
  1. Grease the baking dish, then scrape the dressing mixture into the dish

  2. Melt the 4tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Pour evenly over the dressing mixture

  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown, removing the foil after 20 minutes

  4. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving