Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. FT,


    That really sounds good. Much better than what I've had before. Thanks and have a great Thanksgiving!


  2. FT,
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    If you were here at our house for the Thanksgiving feast, your culinary skills would result in a better meal than I can prepare.

  3. I doubt that, AOW. It is too bad we don't live closer, though. It would be fun to get together and share the responsibility of preparing a good meal now and then -- especially at the holiday season.

    I used to be a good cook, but all the credit for that goes to my grandmother who from all reports was a Master Chef, though she never knew it, and my mother who taught me so much just because I had the privilege of watching her work her magic in the kitchen when I was little and for years afterward.

    I don't think we realize how much we learn by "osmosis," Just being around people who know how to do things and love what they're doing is very inspiring.

    These days I see cooking as more of a chore than a pleasure, because there really isn't anyone around to share it with anymore.

    My father was an expert at grilling -- like our friend SilverFiddle -- and loved to prepare the meat courses outdoors for all the great meals we enjoyed on the flagstone patio he made all by himself the summer I was ten.

    Family life was so wonderful. They say most people don't realize when they're well off and always want more than they can reasonably have, but I think I really did appreciate the closeness we enjoyed with our relatives and all the things we shared for so many years, while everyone was still young and vital.

    Anyway, mother's recipe is much easier to do than it looks when you list all the ingredients and the steps to put it all together.

    As someone famously said, "If you can read, you can cook." But they forgot to add -- "if you really WANT to."

    I loved the Turkey Can Can, by the way. Thanks ever so much. That woman sure has a fertile imagination, doesn't she? ;-)

  4. Hey, Jon. Thanks for the enthusiasm. It really is a good recipe. Too bad my (few) vegetarian friends get all bent out of shape at the very thought of eating anything as disgusting as sausage stuffed into a poor, innocent, harmless, helpless bird we had no right to murder for our selfish pleasure, blah blah blah!

    If people don't want to eat meat, that's fine with me, but I do resent their making a Holy Show of it, and never missing an opportunity to do everything they can to spoil the fun for us, boorish, barbarous, unenlightened carnivores.

    Well, to hell with 'em! ;-)

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you too!

  5. FT,
    I didn't spend much time in the kitchen with Mom. She insisted that I practice the piano and do my school studies while she was bustling about in the kitchen. In addition, because of Mom's cardiac condition, the only household task she was permitted to do was cook. She loved to cook! The few attempts that I made didn't please my father, but he was too much of a gentleman to tell me so.

    I do wish that I knew how Mom made her vegetable soup. I've tried to duplicate it, but with no luck -- maybe because Mom used ingredients that she herself canned from our garden.

    I do have a couple of specialty dishes that I developed on my own, however. One is venison chili. And my meatloaf is to die for!

  6. FT,

    I loved the Turkey Can Can, by the way.

    That was Jacquie Lawson's new Thanksgiving card this year.

  7. Perfect timing! We are on the way to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for our Thanksgiving meal!
    I am going to give this a go. I will keep you updated!



  8. I'll light a candle in the Menurkey for the sausage in the stuffing! ;)

    Have a Happy Thanksgivukkah!



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