Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Gefen Whole Organic Chestnuts. The holidays are here, and soon we will be singing “chestnuts roasted on an open fire”. And man fresh roasted chestnuts are great, I do some every year, but the truth is shelling and peeling chestnuts is a pain in the ass.
Hence for many years I picked up a few pounds for novelty at Christmas but never really cooked with them, which is a shame as they are really an amazing ingredient.
Of course they are on the moderation list for me, as I am living la vita low carb and loving it. Still I am not a low carb Nazi and if there is a time to splurge it is Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
My favorite thing to make with Galil Organic Whole Roasted Chestnuts is my signature Jacks Special Stuffing. It is a combination of bread, chestnut and sausage stuffing with lots of sage flavor to really make it sing next to your turkey. Here is how you make it,
Jack’s Special Chestnut Sausage Stuffing
- 3-6 cups dried stuffing cubes or your own dried bread (based on how much you want as a binder)
- Chicken/Turkey stock sufficient for the above bread stuffing
- Butter for the above stuffing mix plus two table spoons
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup finely diced white or yellow onions
- 2-4 5.2-oz bags of Gefen Whole Organic Chestnuts (use as much as you want but at least two bags)
- 2 lbs of sausage, (breakfast, mild Italian, Jacks Special, it is your choice, but something with either a good sage and/or fennel flavor is best)
- 4-6 Slices of Good Thick Sliced Bacon
- 1 Handful Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 4-6 Fresh Sage Leaves finely sliced
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Make up 2-4 cups (dry measure) of traditional bread stuffing (as per your method or instructions on the package). When you do be sure to use broth vs. water. Set aside.
- Make sausage into large thin patties, fry like ham burgers until cooked though. Set aside on towel to drain, leave sausage grease and stuck on bits in pan.
- Fry your bacon until fat is well rendered out of it but the bacon itself is not fully crisp yet, reserve to side with sausage to drain.
- Once bacon and sausage has cooled, cut into small pieces, cut the sausage into cubes about the size of bread cubes in pre-made stuffing mix.
- Coarsely chop your chestnuts, put celery and onions into pan and sauté until onions begin to turn clear.
- Add chestnuts to pan along with the additional 2 tablespoons of butter, gently toss to coat with pan leavings, fold back in sausage and bacon.
- In an oven safe pan, (for this I just use the toss away aluminum ones) combine the sausage and chestnuts with the bread stuffing, mixing lightly until mixture is uniform. Sprinkle bacon on top, if you are prone to “stealing bacon” cook a few extra pieces to account for this.
- At this point, everything is basically done and you could eat it. I prefer to bake it covered with foil at 375 for about 25 minutes, then uncovered until the top is just brown. To brown to a nice top crisp turn on the broiler for a few moments to finish it, but if you do this do not take your eyes off it.
For meals like Thanksgiving I make this up, first thing in the morning, then cover and set aside, 40 minutes before serving time (bird is out of the over by then) pop it in and finish it off. You can even make it up the day before, if you do though leave more time to reheat it as you must refrigerate it overnight.
Note – this makes a LOT of food, if you have a smaller gathering cut all ingredients in half. Or just use 3 cups vs. 6 cups of bread mix, you can even omit the bread all together and it will be really good but not what most people expect in a “stuffing”.
So why not shake it up for Turkey day and do up some chestnut stuffing. If some people are not open to it make a smaller batch and it only takes a few minutes to whip up some plain old bread stuffing anyway for the non adventurous. Frankly this stuff is so good it could be a meal in of itself. So stock up on some Gefen Whole Organic Chestnuts today and make the holiday meals something special this year.
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P.S. – Say you just want good old “roasted chestnuts”. Okay well a pre prepped item like this won’t ever be quite as good as a fresh roasted one, but they are a lot easier. To make them as a roasted chestnut…
Heat oven to 425 and then shut it off. Put chestnuts on a baking sheet and VERY lightly salt them, (you can always add more but can’t take it off), then leave in oven for 10-20 minutes. Remember turn the oven off when you put them in, you use residual heat only.
The way they are stored they are sort of damp, so you want to roast them till they are warm though and the outside begins to dry up. Please note that even fresh chestnuts are never crunchy like a pecan or walnut.
P.P.S. – Chestnuts do not store for long fresh. However they freeze just fine, so be sure to freeze any you won’t use by the expiration date.
P.P.P.S. – Okay one more, any quality pre packaged chestnuts work good for this, I have never found a bad one. I selected these today because they are in stock and you can get them in plenty of time for this years Turkey Day.