Chestnut Stuffing with Leeks & Apples

DSC_0302-1-710With Thanksgiving right around the corner and a festive selection of chestnuts in our produce aisle, we’re featuring a holiday recipe from our friend Katie, the Parsley Thief. Katie writes: When I was a kid, my grandmother would serve roasted chestnuts after dinner this time of year. They frequently capped off all of our special gatherings…especially Thanksgiving & Christmas. I think I was probably the only kid who actually liked them. My husband’s family has the same tradition & to this day I still love ’em. I made this stuffing for the first time last year. I chose this recipe because we were hosting Thanksgiving & one of our guests was a vegetarian [but, really I just liked the idea of having a stuffing with chestnuts in it!]. If you love chestnuts, you will love this recipe…if not, not so much. But, the other leading flavors…the leeks and tart apples make it worth a try. I halved the recipe here, but it can easily be doubled, if you’re serving a large crowd.

Chestnut Stuffing with Leeks & Apples

Adapted from Gourmet magazine, November 2008
Serves 4-6 {This recipe can easily be doubled for a big crowd}
Roasted chestnuts in a bottle are quite pricey. Although time consuming, you can save money by roasting your own. The bottled chestnuts can be found in most specialty grocery stores.

3 cups cubed white sandwich bread, crusts removed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups sliced leeks {white & light green parts}
1 rib celery, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper {to taste}
7-8 ounces bottled roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the cubed bread out on a baking sheet & bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until mostly dried. As an alternative, you can also leave the bread out at room temperature for 24 hours to let it dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl & set aside.
Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks & celery. Cover & cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, or until the leeks are tender. Add in the thyme leaves, apple, salt & pepper. Cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the leek mixture to the mixing bowl with the bread. Stir in the chestnuts, cream & parsley. Check for seasoning & add a bit more salt & pepper, as desired.
Transfer the stuffing to a buttered casserole dish & bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through & the top is golden brown {For a larger batch, increase the cooking time to 30 minutes}.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Here’s a step by step photo guide to this recipe from The Parsley Thief:

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Begin with 3 cups of cubed, white sandwich bread. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & lay the bread out on a baking sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes, or until mostly dried. As an alternative, you can also leave the bread out at room temperature for 24 hours to let it dry. Transfer to a mixing bowl & set aside.

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Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cups sliced leeks {white & light green parts} & 1 rib of celery {chopped}. Cover & cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, or until the leeks are tender.

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Add in 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, 1 Granny Smith apple {peeled & chopped}, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & some freshly ground black pepper {to taste}. Cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.

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Next, you will need 7 ounces of roasted chestnuts {coarsely chopped}. The recipe calls for the bottled variety, which is what I used here. They can be a bit pricey. You can opt to roast your own instead, if desired.
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Add the leek mixture to the mixing bowl with the bread. Stir in the chestnuts, 1/2 cup of heavy cream & a 1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley. Check for seasoning & add a bit more salt & pepper, as desired.

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Transfer the stuffing to a buttered casserole dish & bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through & the top is golden brown {For a larger batch, increase the cooking time to 30 minutes}.

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Serve right away, or reheat later. To reheat, cover the stuffing in foil & bake at 350 degrees until hot.

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