Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chestnut Stuffing and Chestnut Roasting

You know you’re married when you have an open debate with your husband in the middle of Whole Foods over whether or not to purchase a tiny little jar of roasted chestnuts for $11.99. Yes I’ll admit the chestnuts were a rip-off. But I could hardly contain my excitement for creating this new chestnut stuffing for our turkey dinner. Not to mention my city-wide search for fresh chestnuts yielding zero chestnuts. I was desperate. Not knowing where else to turn and frustrated as hell, I purchased the outrageously priced jar despite my frugal husband’s plea to swap chestnuts with hazelnuts (no sir).

Ironically of course not 24 hours later at my regular grocery store, I found fresh chestnuts for $2.91 in the produce section, not the nut section. You would have thought that one of the 10 store clerks I hassled in my city-wide fresh chestnut search would have led me in the right direction. Ehhhhh. To make this experience a great learning lesson I purchased the fresh chestnuts to make a comparison with the jarred. I also wanted to test roasting chestnuts in my oven (see below). The moral of the story is: you find fresh chestnuts in the produce section, not the nut section – and the jarred stuff is a rip-off, but WAY more convenient. And, yes . . . totally worth the expense. This dressing ROCKS - husband approved, his belly happy. Whew.

Chestnut Stuffing
Adapted from On Cooking and The New Professional Chef

Ingredients:
½ Cup Onion Diced
½ Cup Celery Diced
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 loaf of Bread Cubes, Dried
½ Cup Chicken Stock, Warmed
2 Eggs Beaten
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parley, Chopped
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
1 Cup Chestnuts, Roasted, Shelled and Chopped

Directions:
Saute the onion, celery and butter until tender.
Combine the bread cubes, chicken stock and eggs in a large bowl. Add the onion/celery mixture.
Add the parsley, salt, pepper and chestnuts. Mix well.
Place the stuffing in a buttered pan and cover with foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

**Note on bread cubes: I purchased a loaf of bread the night before, cubed it and let it sit out to dry for the night. Worked great.


How to Roast Fresh Chestnuts:

1. Take a small sharp knife and slice an X into each Chestnut (so they don’t explode in the oven).
2. Arrange the chestnuts on a cookie sheet with the X facing up
3. Place the X’d chestnuts in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20-ish minutes
4. Let the Chestnuts cool slightly, then peel and de-shell.

















They look like little brains . . . don’t they?!?! The fresh chestnuts are the yellow variety colored chestnuts. The jarred chestnuts are brown colored and had a preserved coffee taste to them. I prefer the flavor of the fresh chestnuts but they were extremely high maintenance. The expensive jarred chestnuts are WAY more convenient.



On Cooking, A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals, Fourth Edition. By Sarah Labensky and Alan Hause, Steven Labensky and Pricilla Martel, Prentice Hall, 2007

The New Professional Chef, Sixth Edition. By The Culinary Institute of America. John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

3 comments:

  1. Hi, Thanks for the Twitter follow. You have a great blog with mouthwatering dishes. I am really craving this Chestnut Stuffing, looks scrumptious.

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  2. This looks really yummy, Mandy. Even if you DID describe the chestnuts as "little brains" LOL! You're funny :)

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  3. They DO look like little brains don't they? Too funny. I've always wanted to roast real chestnuts and your delicious recipe has inspired me. Thank you SO much for your tip on looking in the PRODUCE section as opposed to the nut section. I would have wandered aimlessly in nut sections forever :)

    Judy

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