I like thanksgiving alot! All I have to do is make the stuffing and pecan pie, then creep 3 hours along the Garden State Parkway (where on almost any other day of the year except erev Rosh Hashanah the trip is only 1 hour) to my ILs, who provide the turkey and everything else. So I get away relatively easy.
And by “everything else” I mean approximately 150 different fixin’s, give or take a gross. Most years have included various varieties of asparagus, string beans, sweet AND white potatoes, corn, spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts and/or squash.
Also brisket (in case there wasn’t enough turkey) and chicken (someone may stop by).
Back to the stuffing. This stuff is best, IMHO, when baked separately from the bird. There are some people who insist that unless it’s stuffed up the turkey’s … cavity, it should more correctly be called “dressing.” Hey, Some People! When you are in the process of making a phone call, why don’t you say “I’m touching” instead of “I’m dialing”? Isn’t that more correct?
But I digress …
There are almost as many stuffing recipes *out there* as there are chicken soup recipes, which some years also appeared on the Thanksgiving table (it’s only from the other day). My own version of stuffing is still a work in progress. Feel free to tweak it as necessary to suit you and yours.
Although fresh can be best at times, stuffing made with dried stuff works almost as nicely. I give quantities for both fresh and dried … just be sure not to mix up the quantities.
I did a slight cheat and used a couple packages of pre-roasted chestnuts. Although tasty, they aren't the same as freshly roasted. If you have time, roast up a pound of fresh chestnuts. You don't need the entire pound, but if you are like me, you will eat
Since this stuffing will be served alongside dead poultry, it was made with real chicken broth. For a parve/vegan version, use parve chicken or veggie broth.
Thanksgiving Stuffing with Chestnuts
Yield: 12 servings, plus enough for seconds
12 cups 1/2 to 3/4" firm white and/or whole wheat bread cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 celery stalks (including leaves), finely chopped (or 2 tsp. celery seeds)
2 (5 oz.) pkgs. peeled whole roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 packed cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped (or 2 Tbl. dried)
2 large sage leaves, minced (or 1 tsp. ground)
1 Tbl. finely chopped rosemary leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
4 cups chicken (or veggie) broth, low-sodium preferred, divided
water, if necessary
Cube the bread, but don't trim off the crusts. Likewise, don't worry if the cubes are not uniformly sized. Along with a sprinkling of whole wheat bread, it all gives the stuffing a pleasing color and rustic appearance. If you have the time, spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and ignore for up to a day to dry out. If you have no time, pop the baking sheet into a 350F oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cubes dry out and barely begin to brown. Watch carefully so that they don't toast too much or burn!
Preheat oven to 350F (if you haven't done so already). Lightly grease a large baking pan. Add prepared bread cubes and set aside.
|Chestnuts should be a little bit larger than these micro-bits.|
Set a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add olive oil, wait 10 seconds, then add onions and chopped celery (if using). Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions soften. Add chestnuts and continue to sauté another minute.
Stir in celery seeds (if using), parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (there's a song in there somewhere I believe). Sauté an additional minute to coax out maximum flavor.
Stir in salt, pepper and 3 cups of the broth. Bring to a bare simmer.
Pour mixture over cubes, gently stirring the cubes up from the bottom of the pan with a large serving spoon until the cubes are evenly moistened. Add remaining broth, about a 1/4 cup at a time, until cubes are moistened to your liking. If it’s still too dry, add a little water.
Grab a fork and dig in, I mean, taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Bake uncovered for 15 to 25 minutes or until top is browned to your liking.
I like it barely toasted. You might have to go the entire 25 minutes for everyone else. By the way, in the photo that's steak on the left (someone might not like turkey ... or brisket ... or ...).