Thanksgiving again. Like most (middle North) Americans, dr bob sees a whole turkey only once a year. And the big question each year is: what kind of stuffing to stuff the bird with? Some people seem to call the stuffing "dressing" but we have a slight problem with this. When most people we know are dressing, the dressing materials end up on the outside of their bodies, not in various digestive and excretory system cavities as occurs in the case of turkeys and other large but not-in-a-position-to-complain fowl. [Later knowledge acquisition: "dressing" is in fact "stuffing" on the outside, i.e., not in the bird, so this makes sense after all.] Whatever we call it, many agree that it is perhaps the best part of a turkey dinner, especially in combination with the killer gravy and obligatory mashed potatoes keeping it close company.
This year [that year, after the fact] dr bob spotted a chestnut stuffing recipe in a woman's magazine he'd never seen before at a supermarket checkout line of course. Listed on the cover under the obligatory article about married sex. Roasted chestnuts are a big Mediterranean tradition, one fondly recalled by the transplanted Lebanese-Armenian in-laws as well as by dr bob from his Italian winter season visits, during which street vendors hawking these freshly roasted nuts are a common sight in Rome. But responding to recent training by ms_ani to limit food magazine gathering, it was left at the checkout. Until the stuffing question surfaced only days later at the in-laws. Chestnut stuffing, it seemed, was an idea ready to join our common tradition. But where was that recipe...? Armed only with a vague memory of the magazine cover and supermarket chain, an investigation of all the checkout isles of two different supermarkets finally turned up the target publication.
Although the recipe called for white bread slices (!!), dr bob had every intention of doing either a whole wheat bread substitution or using a supermarket bread cube stuffing "mix" package found in abundance at this time of the year. But in the "healthy foods" supermarket there was a large display of whole wheat dressing boxes which sold us after a moment's hesitation about just what the product was. Nothing but whole wheat bread cubes, it turned out, when the boxes were opened.
The original title of this was "chestnut sage stuffing" but ms_ani has a thing about sage. She dislikes it. So the small amount in this recipe may or may not have found its way into our rendition. [Oops, it's rosemary, not sage, that she hates. Simon and Garfunkel memories must have interfered with my mental banned spice list.] As a stuffing recipe, this called for a 12-14 lb turkey to fill, but in later years, a lot of bad P.R. has turned us off of stuffing the bird, so we end up in the dressing category where the size of the cavity is irrelevant. It is never big enough anyway. On our first run through we used 2 5oz (145g) whole wheat dressing (bread cubes) packages and 2 c vegetable broth, but this was not enough to supply the demand, so we increased the quantity for the followup Easter turkey (hey, immigrants are free to invent their own traditions), with enough left over for a 9 in square baking pan outside the turkey. For some reason we also used hazelnuts and walnuts on Easter after the chestnuts for Thanksgiving, maybe just for a change, but certainly invalidating the name of the recipe of course. We also found the broth called for by the original painfully inadequate, so increased it drastically to satisfy our desire for moist stuffing.
|what they said||what we did|
|1 lb||white bread, about 16 slices||1 14oz(400g)||bag herbed seasoned stuffing|
|1/4 c||chicken stock or canned broth||2.5 - 3 c||vegetable broth|
|1||large onion, chopped||2||onions,chopped|
|1||medium bunch celery, chopped finely|
|3||cloves garlic||5||cloves garlic|
|6 T||butter||3 T||butter|
|3 T||olive oil|
|2 c||roasted chestnuts (15.5oz can whole chestnuts)||2 c||roasted chestnuts (15.5oz can whole chestnuts) or:|
|.65 lb||blanched filberts (no hassle)|
|.65 lb||walnut pieces|
|1/2 c||fresh parsley, chopped||1/2 c||fresh parsley, chopped|
|2 t||dried sage||2 t||fresh parsley, chopped|
|1 1/2 t||dried marjoram||2 t||dried marjoram|
|1/2 t||ground nutmeg||1/2 t||ground nutmeg|
|1 t||salt||1 t||salt|
|3/4 t||pepper||3/4 t||pepper|