Whip up a unique, delicious Thanksgiving stuffing with Chef Mike Freeman of Le Clou

For home cooks who want to make a statement at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner table, executive Chef Mike Freeman has the dish for you. Chef Freeman of Le Clou at The Morrow Hotel in D.C. shared the recipe with WTOP for one of Thanksgiving’s most famous dishes: stuffing … but with a twist.

Chef Freeman’s stuffing recipe, approachable for home cooks of all levels, has an earthiness from the mushrooms, a nuttiness from the chestnuts, herbaceous notes from the sage and thyme, a texture with a custardy center and a toasty exterior, and a pop of tang and fruitiness from the pomegranate seeds.

He told WTOP, “I think a lot of people get worried about” whether stuffing should be in or out of a turkey, how to cook it appropriately and how to not make it dense. “So, we’ve got a nice, simple one today that will be a little more interesting than your Stovetop cornbread stuffing.”

Le Clou is a traditional French brasserie with cuisine that leans in on the Provençal side, so guests can enjoy classics like escargot, foie gras, steak frites and Paris-Brest. For Thanksgiving Day, the restaurant’s menu features a four-course dinner with highlights like herb-roasted turkey and candied ham.

To see a demonstration of how to make Chef Freeman’s stuffing, check out the video above, filmed at Le Clou at The Morrow Hotel.

Roasted Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing

By Mike Freeman, executive chef at The Morrow Hotel and Le Clou
  • 750 grams of diced bread (day old and toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons of sage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 100 milliliters (about 3.4 ounces) of melted butter or duck fat
  • 500 milliliters (about 17 ounces) of chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 pound of oyster mushrooms
  • 5 ounces of chestnuts, chopped (shelled frozen)
  • 4 ounces of pomegranate seeds
  1. Cut your bread into large cubes. I prefer to use a mix of baguette and hard crust loaves, but any bread will work. Let the bread sit out overnight to dry. It should be fairly stale before use. If it still feels moist on your stuffing making day, it can be dried in the oven at 325 Fahrenheit until lightly toasted.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  3. Place your bread, stock, melted butter, eggs, spices and herbs in a large mixing bowl and toss together until thoroughly mixed and set aside.
  4. In a heavy bottom pan, add your chopped chestnuts, and turn to medium high heat, stirring occasionally until chestnuts are golden brown and lightly toasted.
  5. Remove from heat, and add to your bread mixture.
  6. Bring your heavy bottom pan back to high heat.
  7. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Then add your mushrooms.
  8. Cook the mushrooms until golden brown. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Then add to your stuffing bowl.
  9. Add your pomegranate seeds to your bowl and mix all ingredients thoroughly. The mix should now have fully absorbed all your liquid.
  10. Pack your mix lightly into a loaf-size casserole dish or disposable aluminum pan, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  11. Brush with melted butter before serving.

Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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