Chestnut Stuffing

Chestnut Stuffing

Sweet chestnuts and rich challah bread make for a stuffing both hearty and elegant.  We prefer this recipe baked in a pan rather than in the turkey, allowing it to crisp and brown on top.  If challah bread is hard to come by, brioche makes a lovely substitute. 
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of challah bread, cut or torn into 1-2 inch pieces
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing the pan and dotting the stuffing
  • large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, sliced
  • ½ cup fennel, diced (if fennel is unavailable, substitute 1 tbsp fennel seeds)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ pound chestnuts, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2½ cups turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • large eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley 

      Preparation

        1. Spread the pieces of bread evenly over a baking sheet.  Bake in a 300F oven until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
        2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.  Melt half of the butter.  In a large bowl, toss the bread pieces with the butter.  Put the bread in the casserole dish and bake again until until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the toasted bread back into the large bowl. 
        3. In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter.  Add the onion, celery, fennel and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-low heat until everything begins to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme and sage, and cook for a few minutes more. Remove from the heat.
        4. Combine the onion mixture. chopped chestnuts, and challah bread in a large bowl.  Allow to cool. 
        5. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups stock, eggs, parsley and the remaining salt. Gently toss the blend with the bread mixture, being sure that all of the liquid is absorbed. 
        6. Grease the casserole dish with additional butter, if needed.  Transfer the stuffing back into the prepared casserole dish. Drizzle up to 1 cup of the remaining stock over the stuffing until it's moist. Dot the top with bits of butter. 
        7. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.
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