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Corn Bread Dressing with Chestnuts

Corn Bread Dressing with Chestnuts
This recipe calls for baking the dressing separately from the turkey, which allows for faster roasting and more accurate timing of the bird. Be sure to toast the corn bread before combining it with the other ingredients. Fresh untoasted bread would absorb too much liquid, producing a soggy dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups corn bread (see related recipe at left),
     cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 bacon slices, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 jar (14.8 oz.) French chestnuts
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Spread the corn bread out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the stock. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dried cherries. Let cool.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bacon and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, bacon, onion mixture, chestnuts, sage and parsley. Whisk the egg into the stock mixture and add to the corn bread mixture. Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to mix.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until browned and crispy, about 1 hour. Serves 10 to 12.

Note: If desired, you can pack the dressing loosely in the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Secure the neck flap with kitchen string or pin it to the back with toothpicks or trussing pins. Tying the legs together will help hold the stuffing in the body cavity. For turkeys weighing 16 lb. or less, add 30 minutes to the total roasting time. For turkeys weighing more than 16 lb., add 1 hour to the total roasting time.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.