If you’re a baby boomer from the east, you probably have fond memories of Grandma’s chestnut stuffing. There is nothing fancy about it, but oh so good. This heirloom recipe takes stuffing back to the basics, adding chestnuts to stale bread and savory vegetables.
I like to dress it up by adding sweetened, dried cranberries. Soak the cranberries in hot water for 30 minutes to plump them, then stir into the dressing. Cranberries add a bit of sweet/tart tang as well as eye appeal.
This recipe is scaled down to stuff a chicken, but may easily be doubled to stuff a 12-pound turkey or tripled for a 24-pounder. The stuffing may also be cooked outside the bird, if you choose.
Chestnut Stuffing Recipe
1 cup shelled chestnuts (see prep instructions below), chopped
10 slices stale white bread
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup strong chicken broth
Prepare the Chestnuts:
Make a slit on each side of the chestnuts with a sharp-pointed paring knife and boil gently 20 minutes. Strip off shell and thin brown skin. Dip chestnuts in cold water to remove shell and skin more easily.
Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces, and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
Saute the onion and celery in the butter until soft. Stir in the salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, and chicken broth. Add the bread chunks and chopped chestnuts, then lightly toss to combine.
Stuff loosely into the chicken. It will expand as it cooks.
The stuffing may be cooked separately in an uncovered casserole dish at 350 F. for 30 minutes.
Recipe may be doubled for a 12-pound turkey
Yield: Enough for 4-pound chicken (about 4 servings)
• Readers have suggested leaving the thin brown skin on the chestnuts for more intense flavor. This will also save you some time.
Chestnut Stuffing Recipe Photo ©2018 Peggy Filippone