The Porcini mushroom is commonly regarded as one of the most flavorful and versatile of fungi for cooking. In my opinion the flavor is unparalleled and I consider it to be a gourmet mushroom. Although you can readily find workable substitutes to use for most recipes, I do think it’s worth taking the time to find porcinis. They’ll come in small plastic jars and containers like the image here. If you’re worried about what to do with dried mushrooms don’t. Since they’re dried they last quite a long time and are a great thing to keep on-hand in your pantry. They have a great and distinctive nutty flavor and a distinctive aroma similar to cooking sourdough.
This stuffing recipe comes from Bruce Aidells The Great Meat Cookbook as part of the Stuffed Prime Rib recipe. I like to put it in a Rack of Pork too. It’s even great to eat all by itself.
Where to Buy Dried Porcini Mushrooms
Most large grocery stores will have a varied selection of dried mushrooms. You’ll probably find assorted mixes with porcinis and ones that are solely porcini. The latter is what you’ll want. The mixes tend to have tough woody mushrooms that are more suited to flavoring soups and broths. If you have trouble finding them locally there is are many vendors to choose from online
Yield: About 3 cups
Prep time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups of 1/4-inch bread cubes, roughly cut from day-old coarse bread (don’t use store-bought)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
This stuffing can be made a day ahead of time, but don’t stuff the meat ahead of time as it can cause spoilage. When doing this recipe I will start the night before and prepare the bread crumbs and place out on a pan overnight. Then I plan to reconstitute the mushrooms 2 hours before cooking. This is also when I allow the Prime Rib Roast or Rack of Ribs to come to room temperature.
There is also a recipe for homemade Italian sausage on page 410 of Bruce’s cookbook that is perfect for this recipe. Give it a try if you happen to have a meat grinder. Check my homemade meatball recipe for my recommendations on meat grinders.
1) Place the porcini in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Soak for at least 45 minutes, or up to several hours, until soft.
2) Removed the mushrooms from the liquid w/ a slotted spoon. Strain the soaking liquid with a fine sieve or cheese cloth to remove any leftover grit. Reserve the liquid.
3) Using a large skillet cook the sausages for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Break apart the sausages into pieces as they brown. Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes more. Keep stirring. Cook until vegetables are tender.
4) Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, rosemary, spinach, and egg and mix well. Moisten with 1/4 cup of reserved mushroom liquid. I hope you didn’t toss it out. It absolutely makes the stuffing! The stuffing should be slightly moist, but not wet.
Note: Save any leftover mushroom liquid for the Toasted Peppercorn and Whiskey Sauce (p. 100 of the cookbook).
5) Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until cool. Stuff the roast as per the Stuffed Rack of Pork recipe (also on page 96 of the cookbook).