Wild Rice, Italian Sausage and Shiitake Stuffing


This grain-based stuffing, a departure from the usual moist bread stuffing, combines Wisconsin wild rice with rich Italian sausage. Plus: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide 



  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps thinly sliced

  • 2 cups wild rice (about 11 ounces)

  • 1 imported bay leaf

  • Coarse salt

  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 large tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely chopped


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock and shiitake stems and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return it to the saucepan. Add the wild rice, bay leaf and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt. Cover and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 1 hour; add a little water during cooking if necessary.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet, brown the sausage meat over moderate heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly, then coarsely chop. Pour off the fat from the skillet and reserve 2 tablespoons.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved fat and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the skillet. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the apple and fennel seeds and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon fat and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the sliced shiitakes and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the shiitakes to the onion mixture. Stir in the wild rice and sausage and season again with salt and pepper.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Cover the dish with foil and bake the stuffing for about 25 minutes, until heated through.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared to Step 4 up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Let return to room temperature before baking.

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