They say you’re not supposed to try new recipes out at the holidays because it’s stressful and you don’t want to be faced with a houseful of disappointed guests. Because cooking a familiar meal for 13 isn’t stressful enough already? Whatev. “They” are crazy – the holidays are the perfect time to try out new things because you have a house full of guinea pigs!
My dad usually hosts and handles most holiday dinners and for those dinners that he doesn’t handle, he still always makes the dressing and baked beans (we’re dressing, not stuffing people). I ran across this gem of a recipe by Tyler Florence by accident – I mistakenly DVRed a rerun of the Dear Food Network Thanksgiving special rather than what was supposed to be a really good Jess/Tess/Bess episode of One Life to Live. Multiple personalities… it wouldn’t be the holidays in my house without ’em 🙂
The dressing received super high praise from the family and I absolutely loved it. The chestnuts were new to most around the table but my sister Angie really liked them and I think they were worth the extra effort. I used a hardier crust-on bread than the original recipe called for so I think there would be enough texture even without the chestnuts. Either way, this dressing has secured its place at our future holiday tables…
Or at least those future holidays that I can guilt my dad into letting me host.
Roasted Chestnut and Sausage Dressing
A wonderfully flavorful holiday stuffing with roasted chestnuts and sausage.
- 1 lb Italian chestnuts
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh sage
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
- 1 lb loose sweet Italian sausage
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ~1.5 lb loaf of fresh bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to fill a 9x13 dish; we use a mixture of ciabatta, sourdough, and whole grain)
- 1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Score an X onto the bottom of each chestnut with a paring knife (the knife must go all the way through the shell) and roast 20-25 minutes on a baking sheet.
- Shell nuts after cooling and rough chop.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Place the bread cubes into a large bowl.
- In a food processor puree the carrot, onions, celery, sage, parsley, and garlic until you have a fine pulp.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook bacon until crispy.
- Remove bacon from pan with tongs and reserve for another use. Add the sausage to the bacon grease and cook until browned - about 5 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the vegetable pulp to the pan and saute until most of the moisture has evaporated.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables, sausage, and chopped chestnuts to the bread bowl. Mix well.
- Whisk together chicken stock, cream, and eggs. Pour over the dressing and toss to mix and coat well.
- Transfer dressing into the prepared dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on the top (if it gets too brown before the 30 minutes is up, tent with foil).
Yields: 10-12 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 10 minutes