Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing

In addition to the caramelized onions I made this morning, I also made this chestnut and sausage stuffing. The recipe is from http://crepesofwrath.net, which has a large amount of great, varied recipes with beautiful photos. I love looking through her blog. I changed it in places to take in account our personal preferences, but check out her blog for the original recipe.

I admit I have never cooked or eaten chestnuts before outside of desserts. I also admit they were kind of a pain in the ass to cook with and I’m not sure if they were worth the effort. However, the stuffing was satisfying and tasty when finished. The chestnuts added a creamy texture and a nutty flavor, though slightly mealy in a way that I did not enjoy.

25 chestnuts (I used fresh, but you can buy pre-roasted chestnuts at the grocery store)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. mild Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, diced (I used a medium sized Fuji)
1 cup dried cranberries
6-7 cups stuffing cubes (I used cornbread stuffing cubes from Beckman’s bakery)
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1. First score each chestnut with a paring knife on the flat side of the chestnut. You can also poke them with a fork, but then you might not have the awesome bursting effect that you get when you make an X. Then you want to spread them out on a baking sheet. I was supposed to line it with foil, but I didn’t have foil.

They burst open after about fifteen minutes.

2. Cook in a 450 degree oven for fifteen minutes then remove.  You will want to start removing the shells as soon as possible. They are much easier to remove when they are hot.

3. Once the shells and papery skins are removed then you roughly chop them and set them aside in a bowl.

Chestnuts, the Sharpei’s of the nut world.

4.In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, casings removed, and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no more pink in the sausage, about 8 minutes, then remove with a spoon to the baking sheet.

5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, melt over medium-high heat, and add the diced onion. Saute until translucent, about 8 minutes or so. Add in the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two, until fragrant, then remove from heat.

6. On the baking sheet add the chestnuts, add the diced apple, dried cranberries, and cooled onion and garlic mixture. Toss to combine. Add in the 6 cups of stuffing cubes, then 2 cups of chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, then add in more stuffing and/or chicken broth, depending on the consistency of stuffing that you prefer.


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