Chestnut and Bacon Dressing

Sure, the iconic image of chestnuts roasting on an open fire is magical, but we would have preferred it if the next line in the classic Christmas ballad involved a chocolate chestnut torte baking instead of Jack Frost nipping. In fact, we adore almost anything, sweet or savory, in which rich-tasting, low-in-fat chestnuts appear. Here are some of our favorites.

Tips: 
  • Choose Wisely
Look for American chestnuts with firm, uncracked shells that are heavy for their size.
  • Store Properly
Store chestnuts in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for several months.

Chestnut and Bacon Dressing


INGREDIENTS


  • 6 cups torn bite-size pieces crusty country-style bread (about 1/2 pound)
  • 8 to 10 bacon slices, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 pound fresh American chestnuts, shelled and peeled and chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves, washed, spun dry, and minced
  • 2 cups turkey giblet stock or chicken broth

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 325° F. and butter a 4-quart baking dish. 

In a shallow baking pan arrange bread pieces in one layer and bake in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer bread to a large bowl. 

In a large skillet cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to bread. To fat in skillet add butter, onions, celery, and rosemary and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Add chestnuts and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add mixture to bread, tossing well, and stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer dressing to baking dish. Dressing may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. 

Drizzle dressing with stock or broth and bake, covered, in oven 1 hour. Uncover dressing and bake 45 minutes more. Adjust cooking time to your own preference for a softer or a more crisp dressing.

This truly is an ugly-muggly looking stuffing when it is done, but it has the flavor that transcends it's lack of beauty! I love this stuffing recipe and think it is perfect.