What We Call Stuffing: Challah, Mushroom, and Celery

By • November 3, 2009 • 112 Comments

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Author Notes: Our holiday entertaining guest list includes a number of vegetarians. I make every effort to have many Thanksgiving standards in a vegetarian form. In this case, I use homemade challah, cut it into cubes, and then let the bread cubes sit out on the counter for a couple of days to get a little stale. I also use only mushroom stems in this stuffing, just as a matter of economy. The caps are sauteed in butter and dusted with cayenne, then set aside for mushroom gravy, another vegetarian option.MrsWheelbarrow

Food52 Review: No one would ever guess that this is a vegetarian stuffing, and why should it matter? It's rich yet light and teeming with fresh herbs -- a wonderful dish for everyone. Most memorable of all is its texture -- the challah soaks up the vegetable broth and melted butter and then puffs up in the oven, creating a stuffing with a thick, crisp top and fluffy, almost pudding-like interior. We baked it in a large cast-iron skillet because we didn't have right casserole dish. The stuffing didn't suffer a bit -- in fact, it looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 12

  • 1 large loaf of challah or brioche
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups cremini mushroom, diced
  • 8-10 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Cut the challah into 1" cubes. Leave the cubes out on a parchment lined sheet pan on the counter to get stale, at least overnight, and preferably 2 days.
  2. Melt 3 oz. of butter in a large heavy saute pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
  4. Press stuffing into a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment, and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface.
Jump to Comments (112)

Tags: can be made ahead, challah, comfort food, family, hearty, Holidays, stuffing, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Comments (112) Questions (2)

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Stringio

about 2 hours ago Marianna Cohen

Why the parchment paper? Is it critical to outcome?

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about 1 hour ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The parchment keeps the stuffing moist while it cooks, also helps it get puffy. Removing it at the end crisps the top.

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about 2 hours ago ACK Kitchen

Can I make this up to the point of baking and refridge overnight? Have made this several years in a row to raves, but have yet to make it ahead! Fingers crossed!

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about 1 hour ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I have never made this up ahead of time. I do cook the onions, celery and mushrooms ahead so all I have to do is stir it together and bake it the next day. If you want to do it a day ahead, I would bake it so it doesn't get soggy.

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27 minutes ago ACK Kitchen

Thank you for your quick response! Just getting the onions,etc. ready sounds perfect - I will follow your method!!

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3 days ago Samantha

What do you think about adding dried cranberries to this recipe? Would the flavors work together or not? I don't want to ruin it.

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about 1 hour ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm not a dried fruit in stuffing person, so probably the wrong person to ask. :)

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3 days ago Musebe

Would it possible to make this 1 day in advance and reheat before serving the next day?

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about 1 hour ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I have never made this up ahead of time. I do cook the onions, celery and mushrooms ahead so all I have to do is stir it together and bake it the next day. If you want to do it a day ahead, I would bake it so it doesn't get soggy.

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3 days ago Nennie B.

Two crazy family members who don't like mushrooms (come on people!) ;)
Can you simply omit or will the recipe be too watery then??

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3 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Nennie - Sure, you can omit them, but why not make two versions? Stir the stuffing together without the shrooms, pack half into a baking dish, add the shrooms and pack the other half in another baking dish?

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3 days ago Nennie B.

Good thinking! Thanks for the reply. Have a great holiday.

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10 days ago April Linton

What is a "large" challah or brioche? Weight please? Thanks.

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9 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

You'll want about 8 cups of bread cubes. I don't know the weight, sorry! I would say two of the Trader Joe's loaves.

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7 days ago katie

Not to belabor the bread amount point, but I suppose I will since it feels important. I bought two large, 15 oz Whole Foods challah loaves. When I cut up one I have 15 cups of bread cubes, which is almost twice what you suggest. Just below this comment someone said she halved the original recipe and used one Whole Foods challah loaf and it was the perfect recipe. Yikes! Which is it?

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7 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Honestly. I've always used my own challah loaves, about 24" long and quite dense and heavy. Please refer to the Not Recipes articLe I posted this week. Maybe this will help? When I make it next, I will measure and adjust the recipe.

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3 days ago April Linton

I made half the recipe with a 16-oz challah and the proportions were just right.

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15 days ago toral

I want to half this recipe (will only have one vegetarian at the table this year). How long should I cook it for and at what temp? Thanks!

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9 days ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Cook the same amount of time, at the same temperature, but use a smaller 8x8 pan.

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9 days ago toral

Thank you! I did exactly that when I made it last night for my friendsgiving dinner. Came out delicious and the smell of all those herbs - amazing!

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9 days ago toral

Also, I used one loaf of the Whole Foods challah bread (weights 16 oz) to make half the recipe and it was the perfect ratio.

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11 months ago Tara

Made this over the weekend and while the flavor was great, the stuffing was really, really wet. I'm guessing my "large" loaf of brioche wasn't quite large enough so the bread:broth ratio was off. Will definitely try again with less broth!

Stringio

11 months ago Joe Deane

Robyn, I use olive oil with excellent results.

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11 months ago Robyn

Can I use olive oil or something other than butter?

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11 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Robyn, I understand the desire to reduce the fats in this recipe, but the butter really makes it. Because there is no meat, sausage, oyster or bacon, the stuffing really requires the flavor of butter. Nevertheless, if you want to try it with all or part olive oil, give it a try and please let us know!

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12 months ago EmilyC

I made your dressing for the first time this year -- so, so good. I love how simple yet complex it is. And I love how generous you are with the butter -- really makes a difference in the taste! It's going to be my new go-to recipe for the holidays, so thank you!

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11 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Emily! This makes me very happy.

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11 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Emily! This makes me so happy! Especially now that we've met in person.

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12 months ago Debora Morgan

This is the second year I've been making your recipe and I LOVE it! The best stuffing I've ever had :) I always use shallots for the onions, portabellas for the mushrooms, and sometimes add panchetta. Thanks for sharing!

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12 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm thrilled! And love the substitutions and additions. This year, I rehydrated about 1/2 cup of dried porcini and added the liquid and the chopped mushrooms. It was terrific.

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12 months ago Gabbie Tanella

I made this stuffing for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was a huge hit! My family was skeptical (the typical yet uninspiring "Stovetop Stuffing" is the only stuffing they've known) but they loved it! I purchased two packaged challah rolls from Whole Foods and used 1.5 of it; I also used half the amount of stock (didn't have vegetable, but used homemade bone broth) and it was nothing short of excellent. While making it, I did notice that there was more butter included than I'm used to, but after I tasting it that idea escaped my mind. I would definitely make this again... maybe with a little less butter but we'll see ;) Thanks for such an awesome recipe; it made my family happy and that makes me happy!

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12 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm happy, too! I'm so glad you liked it.

Stringio

12 months ago Joe Deane

I used olive oil and light chicken stock and stuffed a 15lb bird. Worked very well. Also I used sage for my main herb.

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12 months ago RuthF

We loved it as well but I think it would also be delicious with a little less butter.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Joe Deane

I would put the dressing in the turkey without baking the dressing first. Is that correct?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Yes, uncooked stuffing goes inside the turkey.

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about 1 year ago Lani Turner

Can I cook this in a slow cooker (crockpot)? How would I need to change the recipe?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm not sure you would get the nice crispy topping --- I've never made stuffing in a crockpot!

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about 1 year ago allison williams

My local whole foods has challah loaves that are 15 oz each. This feels like very little bread (1 oz per person). I'm guessing I should use more challah, but not sure how to judge how much.. is there an amount of 'wetness' I should go for?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I make my own challah and each loaf is about 2 pounds, so plan on two of the WF challah for one recipe.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Joe Deane

Could you stuff a turkey with this if you wanted to?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I see no reason why not.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Christy Dunn

Do you use salted or unsalted butter? I'm really looking forward to making this for Thanksgiving this year! Thanks!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I always use unsalted butter.