Dickens-Style Chestnut and Wild Rice Stuffing, a classic Christmas dinner side dish

by Jeff Greene on December 18, 2011 · 0 comments



Chestnut Stuffing

At the holidays, whether you’re doing our classic Roast Goose with Bourbon Gravy, or a turkey (our awesome Smoked Turkey or otherwise), you need some good sides to truly impress your crowd.  We’ve suggested some great old school and modern takes on the classics here in the past (including a sourdough parmesan artichoke stuffing, port wine cranberry sauce, whiskey glazed carrots, and bourbon mashed sweet potatoes), but when we decided to do a Charles Dickens-like goose last year for a Christmas dinner party, I wanted a Dickensian classic to match it, and a chestnut stuffing just seemed right.

There were a variety of recipes out there for a chestnut stuffing, but after reviewing quite a few, I settled on one from roastgoose.com, the company from whence we got the goose!  For some reason, their website no longer features recipes, but fortunately, I printed it out last year, and because I like you, I will re-publish it here now.

The recipe uses a can of whole chestnuts, drained and chopped, but I couldn’t find any, and thought it would be cooler to do my own chestnuts anyways.  Turns out, it is a tremendous pain in the @$$ to boil and peel your own chestnuts, but it is more authentic, so I’ve included the instructions (and pictures)  for that below.  But if you want to save some time and effort, try to find a source for that in advance, in which case you can skip the first seven pictures…

The original recipe recommended actually using this as a true stuffing for the goose (or turkey), but we just served it separately.  Because it is pre-cooked, you wouldn’t have some of the issues you might have with other in-bird stuffings, but I prefer to cook mine outside the bird and use onions, garlic and herbs inside instead.  Another advantage of this stuffing, is it does not need to be further baked in an oven, so can be served whenever you (and the bird) are ready.

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Raw chestnuts.

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Cross hatching the chestnuts, to keep them from 'sploding.

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Simmering the chestnuts.

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Chestnuts boiled and ready to peel.

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Let them cool a bit. I didn't let them cool long enough, and regretted it!

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Peeling the chestnuts.

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Big pile of chestnut shells for the amount of meat it provided.

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Raw materials for chestnut and wild rice stuffing.

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Browning the bacon bits.

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Celery, onion, and parsley added to bacon and grease.

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Wild rice, chestnuts, and herbs added to pan.

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Ready to serve!

Chestnut and Wild Rice Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 can whole chestnuts, drained and chopped (or something over a pound of raw chestnuts, boiled and then peeled)
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice (about 1.5 cups dry wild rice, plus water or beef or chicken broth according to directions)
  • 1 tsp crumbled dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
Instructions
  1. If you’re doing the chestnuts fresh, do them first–give yourself between 30 minutes and an hour to get them ready. Probably an hour.
  2. Cook wild rice. This will take close to an hour as well–do it the same time you do the chestnuts, if boiling them.
  3. Fry bacon in a skillet until browned.
  4. Pour off some of the grease if you wish, and saute onion, celery, and parsley in the pan for about 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery is soft.
  5. Stir in chestnuts, rice, and herbs and season to taste with salt and/or pepper.
  6. Serve wif yo meat!
Notes
If you don’t find or don’t want to use canned chestnuts, there are several ways to cook them. To boil them, as I did, cross-hatch each of them at the top (to keep them from exploding and make easier to peel), simmer in boiling water for five minutes, and peel. Peeling was messy, a bit time consuming, and not particularly easy, but didn’t require any special technique. Consider paying a kid to do this in the future…
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Plated with brussel sprouts, roast goose and bourbon gravy.

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