Beer Broth Stuffing with Boozy Mushroom Gravy

As a kid, Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday, mainly because I would starve myself all day and then gorge myself on my mom's delicious cooking.

Now that I don't eat Turkey, it's lost a little of its glamour.  But I still love some good mashed potatoes and stuffing.  ANDDDDD don't forget the gravy.

My mom's stuffing - I know it's technically called "dressing" if it's not in the bird, but I can't bring myself to call it that - tastes amazing.  I've missed it.  So I've created a weird hybrid recipe of my mom's recipe and my own vegan ideas.

This recipe is cooked in the slow cooker.  One word: GENIUS.  This frees up your oven for other things - like pie.  It's wonderful because you get the crispy pieces of bread at the top, but you also have the mushier inner parts.

For this recipe, you can use any bread of your choosing, but I used my knockoff Boozy Bushman Bread...and it worked perfectly.  It's darker and has a more rustic look, so that made everything even better.

Ingredients, for the stuffing:
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 ribs or celery, chopped
1 c. fresh spinach
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
one small loaf of bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, like this recipe
1 tsp. parsley
1 1/2 tsp. sage
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 c. beer, like a lager, plus more as needed

Directions:
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion, celery, spinach, and mushrooms in a splash of olive oil.  Cook them until the onion is translucent.  This will take about 5-10 minutes.  I used frozen mushrooms, so my mixture took a little longer to cook.  I also added some carrot pulp from my juicer!

In the mean time, toss your cubed bread with the olive oil and herbs: parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt, and pepper.  Place that into the greased slow cooker.  Layer the cooked veggies on top of the bread and stir.  Pour in the cup of beer.

Bake the stuffing in the slow cooker on HIGH for 1 hour.  After, change the heat setting to LOW and cook for another 4-5 hours.

You can keep the stuffing on WARM for up to 3 hours after it's done.  It will be perfect for dinner!

Ingredients, for the mushroom gravy:
1 T. dried minced onions
1/2 c. beer, like a lager
1 c. fresh or frozen mushrooms
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. white pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sea salt
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/2 T. parsley
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T. organic cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 T. water

Directions:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the ingredients, except for the cornstarch and water.  (If you're using fresh mushrooms, you will probably need more liquid.)  In a small cup, combine the cornstarch and water; let it sit while the gravy cooks.

Cook the gravy for 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir.  You can blend the gravy using a hand blender or regular blender - make it as smooth as you want.

Drizzle the gravy over the stuffing and enjoy!  It will remind you of the best parts of Thanksgiving :-)

Cheers!
-Aileen