Monday, November 22, 2021

Time To Make The Stuffing

And it is time to talk about how you're going to do the stuffing. And this year we asked one of the foremost experts in stuffing how to do it. The expert, of course, is Chef Billy from Restaurant Associates. He stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about how to do stuffing the right way. Billy says this year (and every year!), he's doing a Chestnut Stuffing complete with fresh ingredients. Billy told Tonia he says a simple Italian bread like Semolina, stale and crunchy of course, to create the bulk of the side dish, along with roasted chestnuts, fresh vegetables, turkey stock and fresh herbs. Chef Billy recommends you let the stuffing sit, in an effort to soak in the stock and don't put your oven above 350 so the stuffing will remain most as it bakes.

6 cups torn bite-size pieces of day-old-Semolina-style bread

2 onions, chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced fresh savory leaves or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 pound fresh chestnuts, shelled and peeled, chopped coarse, or 3/4 pound vaccuum-packed whole chestnuts, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Step 1

With a sharp knife cut an X on the round side of each chestnut. Spread the chestnuts in one layer in a jelly-roll pan, add 1/4 cup water, and bake the chestnuts in a preheated 450°F. oven for 10 minutes, or until the shells open. Remove the chestnuts, a handful at a time, and shell and peel them while they are still hot.

Step 2

Reheat the oven to 325°F. In a shallow baking pan arrange the bread pieces in one layer, bake them in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden, and transfer them to a large bowl. In a large skillet cook the onions, the celery, the sage, the thyme, the rosemary, and the savory in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the chestnuts, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the vegetable mixture to the bread pieces, tossing the mixture well, stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste, and let the stuffing cool completely. The stuffing may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. (To prevent bacterial growth do not stuff turkey cavities in advance.) Makes enough to stuff a 12- to 14-pound turkey with extra to bake on the side.