Porcini Pancetta Dressing is simple yet elegant holiday dressing with earthy porcini mushrooms and rich pancetta that’s bound to please your guests.
Stuffing is my FAVORITE dish at Thanksgiving. Even over the bird!
My favorite is a very simple recipe of onions, bacon, and celery with herbs and bread. It’s not fancy, but I love it.
A couple years ago I made a Sage Apple Cranberry Dressing. It’s fantastic. But I can’t be content to just make that again, where’s the fun in that?
How to Prevent Stuffing From Drying Out
You know that soggy bit at the bottom of the bowl when you’ve mixed the batch up? Well, it has an important purpose. I add to the very top when putting it in the casserole or at the opening of the bird where it is exposed to the most direct heat. That soggy bit helps prevent the rest of the dressing from drying out.
What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?
It’s aptly named dressing because I cooked this OUTSIDE the bird, and I was always told when you put this INSIDE the bird, it is stuffing. But does it really matter? It’s delicious either way you roll.
How to make Porcini Pancetta Dressing
The key to whipping this stuffing, erm, dressing up is to have everything ready to go, diced, sliced, chopped, soaked, measured, etc.
First step is to rehydrate the dried porcini mushrooms in simmering chicken broth (vegetable stock works too). They need to steep for about 30 minutes, so while they’re soaking, prep everything else.
Sauté the leeks, shallots, garlic, celery, and pancetta in a large skillet or pan.
Once the porcini mushrooms have rehydrated, strain them through a fine mesh sieve. There will be some grit. Reserve the juice for either mixing into this recipe or save for a later use. It’s too good to toss.
Add the diced porcini mushrooms to the veggies sautéing in the pan.
Add half the bread, seasonings, sautéed vegetables, and pancetta to a large stainless steel bowl. Toss together, then add the wine and some of the broth. Stir really well.
Then add the remaining bread, seasonings, sautéed vegetables, and pancetta, and the butter. Gradually, about 1/2 a cup at a time, add the broth until it reaches the desired consistency.
I’ve made this 3 or 4 times for the holidays, I’ve used as little as 1 1/2 cups of broth and as much as 3 cups. I really think it depends on how dry the bread is. This version I used a bakery package of dried bread versus drying it myself.
Either stuff in the business end of your bird or place in a casserole dish for later baking.
Side Dish Recipes for Thanksgiving
If you’re still needing to round out your holiday table with options, here’s a bunch from my fellow food bloggers.Make sure to check out all the awesome Holiday Side Dishes:
- 5 Ingredient Corn Casserole from Cheese Curd in Paradise
- Skillet Sausage Stuffing from Dutch Oven Daddy
- Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad from Blogghetti
- Bacon Wrapped String Beans from Family Around the Table
- Cranberry, Apple, & Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf from Sweet Beginnings
- Creamy Potato and Apple Gratin from Palatable Pastime
- Disney’s Pumpkin Soup from Simply Inspired Meals
- Dudhi Kofta (Bottle Gourd Fritters) from Cook with Renu
- Orange Cranberry Sauce from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pancetta Brussels Sprouts from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Pumpkin Rolls with Herbs and Sea Salt from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Onions from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Roasted Carrots with Fresh Herbs from Our Good Life
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 43½ oz chicken broth Three – 14.5 oz cans; divided, warmed
- 2 tbsp butter divided, one part melted
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup shallots (1 large/2 small)
- 2 cups leeks (1 large, 2 small); cleaned and sliced
- 1 tsp garlic (3 plump cloves); minced
- 1 cup celery (2 ribs); diced
- 5 oz pancetta diced
- 12 oz dried bread (1 loaf); cubed
- 1 tsp dried sage divided
- 1 tsp dried thyme divided
- 1 tsp dried rosemary divided
- ½ cup white wine room temp; (see notes)
- ½ tsp salt to taste
- ½ tsp pepper to taste
Pour one can (2 cups) of broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Add the mushrooms and stir.
Turn off the heat, cover and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes.
After mushrooms are fully hydrated, drain them. (see notes)
In a large sauté pan add 1 tbsp butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the shallots, leeks, garlic, and celery to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Add the pancetta. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain off excess rendered fat, if there is any.
Once the porcinis have been rehydrated, dice them and toss with the pancetta mixture.
In a very large bowl, add half the bread, pancetta-veggie mixture, and half of the herbs/seasonings; toss together.
Add the wine and ½ cup of broth; mix as well as possible (see notes)
Add in the remaining bread, pancetta-veggies mixture, herbs, salt/pepper, and the tablespoon of melted butter.
Slowly add the remaining broth, about a ½ cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Cover and chill until ready to be baked.
If stuffing a bird, stuff it and bake it according to bird directions.
If making as dressing, place in a casserole dish, cover.
Place in a pre-heated 350°F oven.
Bake for 30 minutes (if using a shallow baking dish, about 45 minutes if using a deep one), uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes to crisp up the top.
Add to a serving bowl if cooked in the bird or serve in a casserole dish.
Serve and enjoy.
Porcini Pancetta Dressing
Porcini Pancetta Dressing is loaded with flavor from leeks, shallots, porcini mushrroms, and pancetta.
Rehydrating Porcini Mushrooms
If you wish to save the mushroom broth for soup, gravy, etc, use a fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter. You want to strain out the grit. It can also be used in this recipe instead of additional chicken broth.
Wine can be omitted and additional broth used instead.
This post has been updated from its original November 20, 2015 publishing with new content, photography, clarified recipe card, and links to other recipes.