Mother’s Festive Chestnut and Italian Sausage Turkey Stuffing
A loaf of day-old high quality white bread, crumbled (at least 6 to 8 slices maybe more depending on the size of the bird)
2-4 eggs (depending on size of the bird)
2-6 yellow onions (depending on size of bird and onion bulbs), skinned, and coarsely chopped
2 cloves fresh raw garlic pureed (put through a garlic press)
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
I cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (place batches of parsley in a mug, use a pair of kitchen scissors to "chop" it, then combine all batches in the mug or a small bowl when done, and set aside
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, cut links at 1/2" intervals
1 lb chestnuts
2 tart apples, cored and chopped coarsely
1/2 to 1 tsp ground sage (optional)
1 lb. salted butter
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1. Take chestnuts, make an X with a sharp knife in the flat side of each. Boil chestnuts till the shells and fuzzy interior coverings slip off easily (about 10-12 minutes). Remove shells and reside, discard, then chop the chestnut meats, which should be soft-but-still-intact into small chunks. Put into covered container and set aside.
2. Cook sausage thoroughly in a partially-covered skillet, drain away fat, cool, then crumble coarsely.
3. Saute onions and garlic very lightly in the residue from the sausages. Let onions remain crisp, just partially cooked. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Set aside.
4. Beat eggs thoroughly -- preferably in a copper bowl.
5. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients -- crumbled bread, beaten eggs, partially-cooked onions and garlic, chopped parsley, grated Romano cheese, crumbled sausage, chopped cooked chestnuts, cosarsely chopped apples, optional sage, S&P to taste. Mix vigorously with a large kitchen spoon, till all is blended thoroughly.
6. If you stuff the bird directly, wait till just before you roast it, rub the cavity very generously with salt, then butter, and then spoon in stuffing till the cavity just 3/4 full (expands while cooking).
7. If you've made a lot of stuffing, and have plenty left over after filling the cavity -- or you just want a great alternative to cooking it inside the bird -- butter the inside of an appropriate-sized casserole or large soufflé dish, and place the uncooked stuffing in the dish stopping about an inch from the top. Dot the top very generously with butter. Bake with the bird, but be sure to remove the casserole of stuffing as soon as the top tuns a crusty, golden brown. You can safely start cooking the casserole after your turkey is at least half done.
Serve stuffing with slices of turkey covered with homemade pan gravy, and all the traditional vegetables you care to prepare.