Kate's Picks: Magical Stuffing
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This week's pick: Magical Stuffing? Yes!
Now that The Eating Season has officially kicked off, it’s time for those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving to consider the meal. Somewhat shorn of its less than wholesome origins, Thanksgiving is now just food and football for most of us. Or food and reading if you’re like me.
But first, we have to prepare the feast, and this week, I’m sharing the best stuffing recipe in the world, according to my family. It’s my mom’s recipe for chestnut stuffing. It has a nearly supernatural reputation in my family, and we are quite the eaters.
Mom found it in her 1955 Good Housekeeping cookbook, but didn’t start making it until the ‘80s.
Before that, we had the classic stuffing made of white bread pieces, celery, a lot of butter, onions and poultry seasoning. I still make that kind and love it. It’s very easy and pretty much foolproof.
Warning: The chestnut part of this stuffing can be painful, as the nuts will burn your fingers. We consider it a small price for excellence.
Here we go:
1 1/2 pounds chestnuts
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme (increase amount if using
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 cups of bread cubes (use white bread
without the crust)
About a week before Thanksgiving, cut a deep X in each chestnut with a sharp knife. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Prepare the chestnuts in small batches. Drop in 10 chestnuts at a time and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove 5 chestnuts from the pot at a time with a slotted spoon. Use a knife to quarter the hot chestnuts and peel them as fast as you can. Repeat this process until all the chestnuts are peeled and your fingers are burned! Coarsely chop the chestnuts, put them in an airtight bag, and freeze until ready to use. (Definitely consider preparing 3 pounds of chestnuts and freezing half to use at Christmas.)
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, celery, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion and celery are soft. Remove from heat and mix in breadcrumbs. If the stuffing looks dry, add some extra melted butter. Add the chestnuts to the mixture. Gently pack stuffing into a buttered casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. This makes eight servings—which in my family really means four. Enjoy!
Image info: Image bears no relation to the recipe. It’s just so bizarre that I thought you’d all like seeing it.
Until next week, stay enchanted!