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Holiday time always meant that when I visited my Bampa’s house, there was a strong likelihood that in addition to the typical stuffing you might find, overflowing with celery, onions, raisins, etc., there would be a small dish of chestnut stuffing for those that might enjoy it. Now, I was a snotty little kid who liked all things processed – Cool Whip, Stove Top and god knows what else and, if I had a time machine, I would go back in time and tell my Bampa I was sorry for not appreciating his culinary wisdom. I’m sure he must have shaken his head a few times at my turned up nose and exclamations along the line of “Chestnut stuffing – YUCK!” Like I said – I was a brat.
I attempted to give Chestnut stuffing a try over the holiday and, guess what, Giada had a recipe for Ciabatta Chestnut Stuffing that rocked! It’s a stuffing that even my Bampa would thoroughly enjoy. Giada’s recipe called for pancetta but I wound up using some bacon I had in the fridge. Also, as I didn’t have a 15 x 10 x 2 dish, I used two of my Le Creuset bakers. Coupled that with some great ciabatta from Whole Paychex, roasted chestnuts from Williams Sonoma and some turkey stock – it was a dish that was not only great with dinner, but better the next day. Chestnut stuffing will become a family tradition, once again.
On to the recipe:
Gather your ingredients
Everything is better with bacon
Its All About The Chestnuts
Mix Mix Mix
The mixture before… and
After – The perfect holiday stuffing/dressing
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) jar roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 cup (or more) low-sodium turkey stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter a large baking dish and set aside.
- Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large heavy skillet.
- Add the bacon and sauté until crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a large bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet with the bacon fat , and, over medium high heat, add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic.
- Sauté until the onions are tender, about 12 minutes.
- Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley.
- Transfer the sautéed mixture to the large bowl with the bacon.
- Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat.
- Add just enough turkey stock to the stuffing mixture to moisten.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in the eggs, making sure everything is incorporated and transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake about 30 minutes.
- Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or so until the top is crisp.
- Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
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