Taking a moment to pause and appreciate our good fortune is something we should really do all year round, but Thanksgiving is the only national holiday that calls for such mindfulness. As a celebration of a successful harvest, seasonal produce takes center stage, but that doesn’t always mean that fresh is best for every ingredient.
Believe it or not, dried Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms are a wiser choice than fresh for numerous reasons. They have much greater longevity, better flavor, and enhanced nutritional attributes.
By removing the moisture, they’re naturally preserved to keep longer, without the need for refrigeration, making them an indispensable pantry staple. Fresh mushrooms must be kept in the fridge for about a week, two at the most, while dried Sugimoto shiitake will keep perfectly at room temperature at least a year, springing back life as good as new when needed.
Long used in eastern medicines as natural supplements, shiitake mushrooms are rich in many vitamins and nutrients, but only when dried can those elements be concentrated and better absorbed. The drying process breaks down proteins into amino acids and transforms ergosterol to vitamin D.
Of course, most importantly for their culinary value, Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms are incredibly delicious because the drying and rehydrating process produces guanylate, a natural umami enhancer. Guanylate amplifies the umami taste of all foods, making dishes richer, bolder, and simply better.
That’s a whole lot to be thankful for right there. It should go without saying that these powerful little mushrooms definitely deserve a place of honor at your Thanksgiving table. I’ve got the perfect dish to grace your menu right here.
We’ve already talked about the best stuffed mushrooms, so what about… Mushroom stuffing? This one isn’t designed to be stuffed into a bird, of course. Some would say that it’s more accurate to call it “dressing” if that’s the case, but that’s an even more confusing title, if you ask me. Dressing is a liquid condiment meant to coat and flavor various side dishes, not something to eat as the side dish itself! Semantics aside, this is a dish that’s essential for any holiday feast.
Tangy, crusty sourdough creates a hearty foundation for this autumnal treat. Perfumed with savory herbs and umami mushrooms, one whiff could tide you over, at least until the meal is served. Chewy and soft in the center, saturated with stock while crowned with crisp, crunchy, toasted edges, each bite is a study in contrasts. Don’t forget the nutty flavor of caramelized browned butter infused into every soft cube of bread, adding luxurious layers of umami into a simple casserole dish.
There are many ways to make great stuffing, or dressing, if you prefer, but shiitake mushrooms should always make the guest list. This is the secret ingredient for an unforgettable feast that everyone will talk about for years to come.
- 2.15 Ounces Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Soaked Overnight
- 1 Pound Sourdough or Italian Bread, Cut into 1/2-Inch Cubes
- 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter
- 1 Medium Red Onion, Quartered and Thinly Sliced
- 4 Stalks Celery, Diced
- 1 Pound Cremini or Button Mushrooms, Sliced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Poultry Seasoning
- 1 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseeds
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 Cups Shiitake Soaking Water and/or Mushroom Stock
- 1/2 Cup Hazelnuts
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
- Begin by draining the mushrooms but reserving the liquid. Separate the caps from the stems; slice the caps and finely mince the stems. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubed bread pieces out a single layer on two baking sheets, making sure they don't overlap. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, until evenly toasted. Set aside and increase the heat to 375 degrees.
- Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam and sizzle around the edges. Continue stirring, gently but continuously, for about 5 - 8 minutes. The butter will turn golden brown and begin to smell nutty.
- Add the onion, celery, cremini or button mushrooms, shiitake, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and become highly aromatic; 10 - 13 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper, cooking for 1 minute longer to incorporate.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle in the flaxseeds, tossing the vegetables to coat. Introduce the toasted bread and stir well to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Transfer to a larger bowl if needed to stir properly. Add the vinegar, shiitake soaking water and/or stock if needed, hazelnuts, and parsley. Mix well, making sure everything is thoroughly incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, spreading it out in an even layer. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
To make ahead of time, the stuffing may be prepared up until the final baking stage 1 day in advance; cover and chill until ready to bake.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 482mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.