After preparing this stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner – or on any occasion considering how wonderful whole roasted turkeys can be – you will experience the joy of preparing something truly wonderful mixed with the odd disappointment that you will never be able to experiment with stuffing again. This is your last stuffing as it is simply the best one you will ever make. Truly.
In the fall, we gather at the vineyard and attempt to use every culinary trick in our respective arsenals to out do one another during our four day Thanksgiving holiday (Vanessa, Nick, our mother, and me. Dad reads and chops wood). Oh, of course we come armed with heavenly white truffles, fat foie gras, and a cornucopia of mushrooms of every type, often foraged that day from our woods. We gather the freshest vegetables and the most succulent cuts of meat and for four days we cook, eat and drink non-stop. The only two dishes that have not varied in our yearly gathering are the turkey – and she is on shaky ground as goose and other fowl may shove her aside – and this stuffing. The recipe is adapted from Alfred Portale’s cookbook, The Gotham Bar and Grill.
Mashed Potato, Sausage, and Chanterelle Stuffing
3 pounds Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup sour cream
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 pounds fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thinly sliced (can use other like trumpets, though not too strong a variety like shiitake)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons ground juniper berries (use a spice or coffee grinder. Wipe grinder first with a dry paper towel)
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. 20-25 minutes. Drain well and return to the empty pot.
2. Stir the potatoes over medium heat until the excess moisture is evaporated and they seem somewhat drier, about 2 minutes. Pass through a potato ricer into a large bowl or mash with a potato masher. Mix in the sour cream and 8 tablespoons of the butter (1 stick).
3. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add to the potatoes.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, it evaporates and they being to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add to the potatoes.
5. Heat the oil in the sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add to the potatoes.
6. Add the parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, and juniper berries, and season with salt and pepper to taste. The stuffing is best freshly prepared. Do not stuff the turkey until you are ready to roast.