Where I grew up we had a couple chestnuts trees in our yard. You have to have at least 2 chestnut trees if you want to get chestnuts because the trees are self sterile. Our two trees were fantastic and and we always got lots of nuts from them. We ate the chestnuts in the typical methods of roasted and steamed, but my favorite way to eat chestnuts is in stuffing for turkey and chicken.
If you don’t have your own chestnut trees to gather the nuts from (before the squirrels do), then bare in mind that they are only briefly available in the grocery store from about Mid-October until just around Christmas. The chestnuts themselves are enclosed in a thin brown case with a furry inner lining. The nut of the chestnut is a soft, moist and woody tasting meat. They don’t keep well out of the shell, and should be kept in a moist part of your refrigerator until ready to use to keep them both from spoiling and drying out. If you gather fresh chestnuts, then you should wash the nuts, then treat them for worm eggs by placing them in a pot of water at 105° F for 10 minutes.
Homemade Chestnut Turkey Stuffing
Each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas we make our favorite Chestnut Stuffing for Turkey. We prefer to make this stuffing in a pan or casserole dish outside the bird but you could stuff the bird if you like.
Ingredients in Chestnut Turkey Stuffing
- 12 ounce bag unseasoned bread cubes for stuffing (one 1/2 24 ounce loaf of stale bread cut into cubes)
- 1 pound mild pork sausage
- 12 chestnuts
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup celery pieces
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
To make Chestnut Turkey Stuffing
- Make an x in the tops of the chestnuts, and bake in an oven at 350° F for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven, let cook, peel the chestnuts, and chop finely.
- Melt butter in a 3 quart non-stick saucepan.
- Add onion, celery, sausage and cook until sausage has cooked through ans is lightly browned, about 10 – 12 minutes.
- Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix in the chopped chestnuts, onion, celery and sausage. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning and mix well.
- Add milk, a little at a time, mixing with additions, until bread cubes are moist.
- Put the stuffing in a non-stick pan or casserole.
- Bake in a 350° F. oven covered for 1/2 hour. Remove cover and cook another 8 – 10 minutes until lightly browned on top.