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How to make both meat-based and vegetarian stuffing for Thanksgiving without going nuts in the kitchen? "Chopped" judge and chef Marc Murphy has the answer! His easy method involves starting with the same classic vegetarian base: carrots, onions, celery, a little bit of garlic, some Cognac, vegetable stock, herbs and toasted bread cubes. Divide that and add sauteed sausage to one half and sauteed mushrooms to the other half, then bake on large sheet pans for plenty of crispy edges. Done and done!
Pro Tip from Marc: You can use other meat, such as pancetta or bacon, and whatever kinds of mushrooms you like. The ingredients in the recipe are just suggestions—anything goes! By the same token, feel free to use dried herbs instead of fresh. They have plenty of time to "bloom and come to life" in this dish and will be just as good.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out four more stuffing recipes from Rach.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the basic stuffing base, spread the diced bread on a baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Leave the oven on.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with the Cognac, then add the butter and melt. Add the stock and herbs, stir to combine, then transfer the mixture to the bowl with the bread and toss together.
Transfer half of the stuffing base to another large mixing bowl and set both bowls aside.
For the sausage stuffing, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sausage to one of the stuffing base bowls and toss to combine.
For the mushroom stuffing, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mushrooms to the other stuffing base bowl and toss to combine.
Spread each stuffing onto a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until crispy and brown, 25 to 30 minutes.