Cornbread-Chestnut Dressing

Cornbread-Chestnut Dressing Recipe
Photo: James Carrier
For a really special dressing for your holiday meal, use polenta cornbread and add roasted chestnuts and bacon. 

Yield:

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Recipe from

Nutritional Information

Calories 367
Caloriesfromfat 25 %
Protein 22 g
Fat 10 g
Satfat 4.5 g
Carbohydrate 45 g
Fiber 6 g
Sodium 463 mg
Cholesterol 136 mg

Ingredients

1 pound chestnuts (see notes)
6 slices bacon (about 1/3 lb. total)
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth (optional)
Salt and pepper

Preparation

1. Discard any chestnuts that feel light for their size; they are apt to be spoiled or molded. Cut an X about 1/2 inch long through flat side of each shell. Place nuts in a 10- by 15-inch pan.

2. Bake in a 400° oven until nuts are no longer starchy-tasting (cut 1 open to test), 25 to 30 minutes. Wrap hot nuts in a towel and enclose in a plastic bag; let stand about 15 minutes. Remove 1 warm nut at a time and use a short-bladed knife to pull off shell and as much brown skin as possible; discard shell and skin. Coarsely chop or crumble chestnuts.

3. Meanwhile, in a 350° oven, toast polenta cornbread cubes in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan, stirring occasionally, until edges begin to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

4. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, turn bacon occasionally until browned, 4 to 6 minutes; lift from pan and drain on towels. When cool, crumble and add to toasted cornbread.

5. To drippings in frying pan, add onion, celery, and green onions; stir occasionally until limp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add sage, thyme, nutmeg, and chestnuts; stir occasionally until vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Scrape mixture into pan with cornbread.

6. Add poultry broth and chopped poultry-broth meats and mix gently; for a moister dressing, add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a shallow 3-quart casserole and cover tightly.

7. Bake in a 350° oven until hot in the center (about 150°), 35 to 40 minutes. For a crusty top, uncover dressing for the last 20 to 25 minutes.

Note:

Bake the polenta cornbread (a variation of the yeast cornbread Luciano makes) or use your favorite cornbread recipe or mix. Instead of roasting the chestnuts, you can use 2 cups peeled cooked chestnuts (canned steamed, water-packed, or vacuum-packed). If making dressing up to 1 day ahead, chill airtight, then bake 50 to 65 minutes.

November 2000
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