Stuffing, dressing or filling? A debate much like us Italians arguing over whether we use sauce or gravy on our pasta. Matters not at all when it tastes great!

Whatever you call this beloved side dish, the choice of bread used in stuffing — white, corn, challah, brioche, bagels or waffles — often depends on the region of the country you’re from. Using sourdough bread, however, adds a lovely tang and depth of flavor to an essential Thanksgiving side. If you want to cut down on the sour taste, you can use half sourdough, half a more neutral-tasting bread. Tipping my spatula to Dave Lieberman for this winner of a recipe.

Buon appetito!

—Jack Sonni, writer, musician and food lover, known as the “other guitar player” in Dire Straits


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INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound loaf sourdough bread
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced ½-inch thick in both directions
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
  • 10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  3. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, or keep it rustic and tear the bread into roughly 1-inch pieces, and spread evenly on two baking sheets.
  4. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and starting to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Stir frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter.
  8. Add chicken broth and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. (Rule #1 in my kitchen: Taste to season and season to taste!)
  9. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid.
  10. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish and sprinkle with parsley.
  11. Bake in the center rack of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.
  12. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.