Chestnut Stuffing

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Chestnut Stuffing

Chestnut Stuffing

Peeling fresh chestnuts may be a bit tedious, but the result is worth the effort. Chestnut meat adds incredible texture and richness (without much fat) to a holiday stuffing. And, after all, it is a once-a-year ritual. But if you lack the patience, jarred vacuum-packed chestnuts are a convenient alternative.

Serves 12

Prep Time 45 min

Total Time 80 min.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts, or two 7 1/2-ounce jars vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
  • 8 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread, (1 pound)
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1 1 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Cooking Directions

Step 1

If using fresh chestnuts, make a crisscross incision through the outer shell of each chestnut with a sharp paring knife. Put them in a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel off the outer shell and inner skin as quickly as possible. (The warmer the chestnuts, the easier the operation.) Break the chestnut meat into chunks. If using jarred chestnuts, simply break chestnut meat into chunks.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 3

Spread bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 15 to 25 minutes. Set aside.

Step 4

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out the skillet.

Step 5

Add oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Step 6

Combine the reserved chestnuts, toasted bread, sausage, onion-mushroom mixture, dried cranberries, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss until well mixed. Whisk eggs and 1 cup broth in a small bowl. Drizzle the egg mixture over the bread mixture and toss until evenly moistened. If you like a moist stuffing, add remaining 1/2 cup broth.

Step 7

Use as directed in Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing or place in a 3-quart baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray, cover with a lid or foil and bake at 325°F until heated through, 35 to 45 minutes. If you like a crisp top, uncover for the last 15 minutes of baking.


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