To learn more, read "The Right Stuff(ing)" in our National edition.
Saffron, Mussel and Nduja Stuffing
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
10 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch squares
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
2 pounds PEI mussels, rinsed and debearded
1 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
½ pound Nduja sausage, removed from casing (chorizo or sobrasada can be substituted)
1 Spanish onion, medium dice (1½ cups)
1 head of fennel, medium dice (1 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup freshly chopped parsley
3 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the cut bread on a sheet tray and cook until it dries out and turns slightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.
2. While the bread is drying, place a saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the shallot, 2 cloves of the garlic and the bay leaf. Cook them until the shallots turn translucent and soften, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels and white wine to the pan, turn the heat up to medium-high, place a lid on on the pan and cook until the mussels start to open, about 2 minutes. Once they have opened, pour the contents of the pan into a shallow dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Once cooled, remove the mussels from the shells by using a piece of a shell like a shovel to scrape it out. Discard the shells and strain the liquid that remains, reserving the liquid (it should be about 1 cup). Set the mussels and mussel juice aside for later.
4. Place a 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add the Nduja to the pan; using a wooden spoon, break it up into small pieces. (Be careful not to turn the heat up too high, as the Nduja fat can burn easily.) Cook for 2 minutes, until the sausage starts to smell fragrant. Remove the sausage from the pan, leaving whatever fat and brown bits remain.
5. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke place the onion, remaining garlic, fennel and salt in the pan. Cook the vegetables until they soften, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Add the saffron, stock and reserved mussel juice, raise the heat to high, and bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Once it hits a simmer, turn it off and set it aside.
6. In a large bowl, place the toasted bread and mussels. Pour the stock and vegetable mixture over it, mix it very well with a wooden spoon until all the bread is coated and the other ingredients are mixed evenly. Let this sit for 3 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
7. Mix the egg and parsley into the stuffing mix. Once well combined, pour the stuffing into an ovenproof 3-quart dish, no more than 3 inches deep. Cover the top with aluminum foil and place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook another 30 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
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