Chestnut Stuffing With Pancetta and Fennel

"I love chestnuts! This is difficult because I don't love preparing them & I really dislike getting chestnuts that turn out to be moldy. To avod the dissappointment of moldy nuts & the pain of burned fingers I will splurge & get jarred chestnuts. They are spendy so they fall into the "very special occasions" category. Oh so good. I jumped on this recipe when I read it in The Seattle Times. They attribute it to "Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table" by Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber. Thank you Suzanne & Teri. I can't wait to try it."
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Ready In:
1hr 30mins




  • Cut the crusts off the bread and tear remaining loaves into 1-inch pieces; put into a large bowl. Toss with 2/3 cup olive oil. Spread on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toast on staggered oven shelves in a preheated 400-degree oven 12 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until croutons are golden-brown and crispy on the outside but still a little soft and tender inside. Reverse baking sheets halfway through cooking time. Cool.
  • Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan often, until the seeds release their aroma and turn a light golden brown. Coarsely grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Set aside.
  • Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and the pancetta. Saute 1 to 2 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add rosemary sprigs and red-pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add onion, fennel, fennel seeds and thyme. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper. Saute about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly caramelized. If making ahead, cool and refrigerate vegetables. Otherwise, add to the croutons and set aside.
  • Return pan to high heat and pour in white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by three-quarters. Add chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over croutons and vegetables, tossing well to combine. Stir occasionally so that the liquid that settles in the bottom of the bowl can be redistributed.
  • Wipe pan out with paper towels, and return to the stove over medium heat. Swirl in 4 tablespoons butter, and when it foams, add chestnuts. Saute 4 to 5 minutes, until the chestnuts are golden and sizzling. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper; add to the stuffing. Stir to combine, and adjust seasonings if needed. Add eggs and parsley, toss well and put the stuffing into a 2 1/2 -quart casserole. Don't pile it too high — any that remains can be put into a smaller casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven. Remove foil and top stuffing with remaining butter cut into small pieces. Cook uncovered about 15 minutes or until crispy on top.

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  1. I've made this recipe before but never rate it. It does take a little work especially those chestnuts.<br/>However, it's well worth it! This stuffing is out of control! You have to try it.<br/>Tip - start working on the chestnuts a day or two before you going to make the stuffing.<br/>Enjoy!!<br/>AB


<p>First about Buster: Buster moved onto whatever comes next on February 26, 2008. He was just shy of five years old. I miss him terribly. <br />He came into our lives when he ran out in front of my car late one night as I was driving home. A just under 4 pound ball of kitten fluff, complete with an ostrich boa tail that stayed straight up as he assessed his new domain. He became a 19 pound longhaired beast who guarded our house (he followed any new guests or servicepeople the entire time they are on the property) &amp; even killed copperheads (among other things with his hunting buddy, Fergus the short-tailed)! Friends never saw his formidible side as he smiled at them &amp; uttered the most incongruent kitten-like mews as he threaded legs! He liked to ride in the car &amp; came to the beach. <br />There are Buster-approved recipes in my offerings - however, HE decided which he wanted to consider - Buster demonstrated he liked pumpkin anything - ALOT -LOL!!! <br /> <br />Copperhead count 2006 - Buster 2 <br /> (10 inchers w/yellow tails) <br /> 2007 - Buster &amp; Roxie 1 <br /> (a 24 incher!) <br />Buster woken from beauty sleep - <br /> <br />Big whiskers - <br /> <br /> <br />For those of you who gave kind condolences - thank you so very much. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />I love to cook &amp; incorporate techniques from Southern/Mid Atlantic roots (grits, eastern NC BBQ shoulders, Brunswick stew, steamed crabs &amp; shrimp &amp; shellfish, hushpuppies, cornbread, greens, shad roe, scrapple) with Pacific Rim foods &amp; techniques aquired while living in Pacific Northwest, fish &amp; game recipes learned while living in Rocky Mountain region &amp; foods/techniques learned travelling to the Big Island &amp; up into BC &amp; Alberta &amp; into the Caribbean. The Middle Eastern/African likes I have are remnants of my parents who lived for many years in North Africa &amp; Mediterranean before I was thought of. Makes for wide open cooking! <br /> <br />Since moving back east we try to go annually in the deep winter to Montreal (Old Montreal auberges &amp; La Reine) &amp; Quebec City (Winter Carnival &amp; Chateau Frontenac)- for unctuous foie gras &amp; real cheeses, French &amp; Canadian meals prepared &amp; served exquisitely, fantastic music &amp; wonderful people - with the cold helping burn off some of the calories! <br /> <br />I love putting in our aluminum jonboat &amp; heading across the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to the barrier islands for foraging &amp; exploring! Bodysurfing is a lifelong sport for me - one that a person's body never seems to forget how to do, once the knack is learned (thank goodness!) <br /> <br />I especially miss cool summers &amp; foggy/drizzly days &amp; fall mushroom foraging/anytime of year hot springing in WA, OR, MT, ID, BC &amp; Alberta.</p>
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