Mushroom, leek and fennel stuffing with boursin cheese

Brioche is having a moment. Probably the number one bread selling this year. Last year was the year of the pretzel roll. This year most burgers are being graced with this buttery bread and so is your holiday stuffing. This can easily be vegetarian by switching mushroom broth for the chicken broth. Either way it is a buttery mix of sautéed vegetables and creamy French herb cheese

Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

· 1 10-ounce loaf brioche (preferably day-old), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for greasing dish

· 1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

· Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

· 1 medium fennel bulb, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)

· 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

· 2 leeks (white and light-green parts only) split lengthwise and sliced (about    4 cups)

· 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

· 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

· 1 8 ounce container boursin cheese

· 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Special equipment:

· 3-quart baking dish

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish. Place cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until slightly dry, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Raise oven temperature to 350°F. In a large sauté pan over high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid and start to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Scrape into a medium bowl and set aside, reserving pan.

3. Return pan to medium heat and melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add fennel and rosemary, and cook until fennel softens and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and cook until all the vegetables are very soft, about 5 minutes more. Return mushrooms to pan, add broth, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Add cubed bread and eggs and toss until mixture is combined.

4. Transfer bread mixture to baking dish. Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown and slightly puffed, 35 to 40 minutes (add 10 minutes if the dish has been refrigerated). Top with parsley and serve immediately.

Culinary Director

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at www.mysuncoast.com