Ah, chestnuts! Nothing quite gets Christmas carols and holiday cheer in your head like a bag of raw chestnuts. Well, actually it all started when I picked up a bag of organic roasted and peeled chestnuts the week prior. I forgot how amazing they are. They’re starchy, almost bready, and have a subtle and wonderful nutty sweetness. Naturally, since this was the week before thanksgiving, the wheels started turning, and I decided to make my stuffing with a combination of chestnuts and sweet potatoes. I figured I’d pimp it out with sausage and fall flavors, and make a bunch of it to bring to our respective families houses, not only to share the love, but to give myself a paleo option. Actually, my parents made a pretty-much-paleo feast, since they’ve been starting to go in that direction, and everything was at least gluten-free, since my mom has a grain intolerance anyway. She made stuffing with gluten-free bread, and I did have a spoon of it to taste, but stuck to mine mostly. There were all sorts of yummy veggies, roasted carrots, brussels, kale salad…Even the desserts were paleo-fied. I brought some of my Paleo Pumpkin Pie Balls, and the stuffing, which disappeared by the end of dinner.
- 1 cup Pecans
- 1 bag/ lb Chestnuts
- 2 Apples
- 1 Onion
- 1 carrot
- 3-4 stalks Celery
- 1 large purple Sweet potato
- 2 lbs Ground turkey / beef (or sausage)
- 1 pt duck broth.
- Cinnamon, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt
- Mix your sausage meat the night before so the flavors have a chance to combine. I use a pound of turkey and a pound of beef. Mix them together with generous amounts of cinnamon, sage, thyme, pepper, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Chop all the vegetable ingredients in a food processor, or if your don’t have one, just make sure they are small and evenly sized. Add to a bowl with the pecans and Set aside.
- Roast the chestnuts. Cut an X into the flat side of each chestnut, and roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or so. The cut part will peel back. You want to peel them while they’re still warm, because they get harder to peel as they cool. Honestly, you can use the bagged pre-peeled and roasted chestnuts if you want to save time, but I think roasting them from scratch is more festive, plus you can get the rest of the family to participate and help peel. Break up the chestnuts into pieces and combine with the veggies.
- Brown meat and then mix together with the rest of the mixture. Add some more seasonings and mix. pour into a 9×17 glass pan and bake uncovered about 30 min. Add duck broth and return covered to oven. Bake for another 30 minutes or so, until the sweet potatoes and carrots are soft.
It’s fairly easy, and super yummy. The chestnuts give it a nice starchiness that is a totally different texture than the sweet potato, and definitely pays a respectful flavor homage to some of the stuffing I’ve encountered. Next time I might use a different variety of apple, but overall it came out great. I might just use the packaged chestnuts though, because it was very labor intensive to peel them all, and the packaged ones I’ve tried are all fantastic.
I made A LOT of this stuff, enough to bring to both parties, and I still had my own batch of leftovers coming out of my ears…..definitely not a bad thing. One of the things I used it for which I loved, was breakfast the following morning. I put some eggs over it, and it kept me full for hours. It’s one of those versatile dishes that makes a great snack or side dish, breakfast or dinner. I ate it in some way, pretty much every day until it was gone, and never got tired of it.