Tasty Thursday

The Mister and I took a sick day yesterday.  And between episodes of this season's Downton Abbey, I started mulling over our Thanksgiving Day menu.  I love a good stuffing, and wanted to make something gluten free.  Fast forward an hour of perusing turkey day stuffing recipes and I think we found a winner: focaccia stuffing with mushrooms and fennel.
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, halved lengthwise, white and light green portions thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and diced
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 oz. dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 package gluten-free focaccia stuffing
2 1/3 to 3 cups of vegetable stock, warmed

1.       Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 2 1/2-quart (2.5-l) covered baker or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33cm) baking dish.
2.       In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the leeks, fennel, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes, adding the thyme and rosemary during the last minute of cooking. Transfer to a large bowl. 
3.       Drain the soaked wild mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve.
4.       In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the cremini mushrooms and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the wild mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the leek mixture, add the stuffing and stir until well combined. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid. Then stir in the stock 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed into the croutons and does not pool in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a crouton; it should be moist throughout but not crunchy or mushy. You may not need all of the stock.
5.       Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Cover with a lid or a buttered sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, 25 to 35 minutes more. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

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