Chestnut-apple stuffing

The recipe card for this stuffing has been in my box for at least twenty years, and I have made it enough times that I cannot recall the last time I actually followed the recipe. You should therefore take the quantities as rough suggestions, although you should probably do that with stuffing in any case. Stuffing ought to be a highly personal endeavor, and that’s not even considering it from the turkey’s perspective.

For bread, I use a chewy, crusty “artisan” loaf, though a white or mostly white one, and I don’t usually remove the crusts. A day or two old is perfect. If you use a soft white sandwich loaf, toast the bread cubes in a low oven to dry them out a bit.

If you can find chestnuts already peeled, by all means use them for this stuffing. Asian groceries sometimes sell them, and I’ve seen them at Costco.

    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 4 large ribs celery, diced
    • 2 medium onions, diced

    Cook the celery and onion in the butter slowly until soft but not browned.

    • 1 pound chestnuts

    To roast the chestnuts, cut an X in each shell by piercing it twice with a paring knife. Place on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes or so until the shells open up around the X. Then peel them, which will be easier to do while they’re still hot, and coarsely chop the meats.

    • 12 cups cubed bread (see note)
    • 1–2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and diced
    • 2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme are good, or use a “poultry blend”)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • [frac]1/2[/frac] teaspoon black pepper
    • up to 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock

    Combine with the cooked vegetables, any butter left in the pan, and the chestnuts. Add only enough stock to moisten the bread; the apples will help keep the stuffing moist as it cooks.

  1. If you’re not using this to stuff your bird, bake it in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan in the neighborhood of 375°F for half an hour or so until it’s hot and browned and crusty on top.