Mushroom-Leek Bread Stuffing with Herbs
Why This Recipe Works
When we serve roast chicken, we want enough stuffing for everyone at the table and then some. We also want the stuffing cooked to a safe temperature while soaking up the flavorful juices of the chicken without turning greasy, burning, or drying out.
We made an aluminum foil bowl, mounded the stuffing into it, and placed the chicken on top, snugly encasing the stuffing. After about an hour of roasting, with a single pan rotation in between, the stuffing was browned and chewy on the bottom as well as moist and flavorful throughout from the juices. The fat from the chicken skin dripped directly into the roasting pan, never even touching the stuffing. Even though the roasting pan was hot, we could easily grab the foil bowl with bare hands and dump the stuffing in one fell swoop into a serving bowl. Good technique and cleanup, all in one.
With our cooking technique established, we could now focus on the stuffing specifics. An informal poll in the test kitchen revealed that most people wanted a jazzed-up version of traditional bread stuffing. We replaced the traditional onion with a thinly sliced leek, tossed in chopped mushrooms for texture and substance, and added the requisite celery. Minced garlic, fresh sage and parsley, and chicken broth finished our recipe.