I never did “in turkey” stuffing.
For as far as I can remember, I’ve always heard or been told that, for safety reason, as in to avoid food poisoning, you should never, ever cook stuffing inside a turkey.
Well, I don’t mind that at all!
In fact, I think it’s much better that way. I mean, let’s face it… you can’t stuff that much stuffing inside a turkey! By baking it on the side, you can make THAT much more.
And stuffing is good stuff, having more of a good thing just can’t be a bad thing!
This year, I tried to make something completely different: I wanted a stuffing that could also be served as a side dish, if one so desired.
Well, I think that I’ve succeeded at creating just that. An unstuffed stuffing that also makes an excellent side dish.
So good in fact that, for the first time, well…
You know how I usually excel at not touching my dishes until AFTER I’m done taking pictures? No matter how hungry I am and how good the food smells?
Well… this one didn’t make it… I just had to dig in!
In fact, you know what? This even makes a great meal on its own! That’s what I had for supper tonight and it didn’t feel like anything was missing at all.
I get the feeling that this one will find its way on my table again before Christmas is back. It tastes Christmasy enough to make it to your Christmas table, but not so much that it can’t be a part of your regular menus!
The only problem would be getting fresh chestnuts when they are no longer in season, but I guess when that happens, all you need to do is use the ready to eat version.
They’re almost as good, anyway, if you ask me…
DRIED PRUNES AND CHESTNUT BULGUR STUFFING
(Yields approximately 8 cups)
- 4 cups water
- ½ tps salt
- 2 cups bulgur wheat
- 500g fresh chestnuts
- 200g whole grain crusty bread, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 250g pitted prunes, chopped
- Zest of one orange
- Juice of one orange
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- With a small sharp knife, cut a “x” in each chestnut and place them, “x” side up onto a baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the shells burst open and the chestnuts start to turn golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring salted water to the boil. As soon as water starts boiling, turn off the heat, add bulgur wheat, cover and let sit until all water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
- When the chestnuts are ready, lower oven heat to 375F then take chestnuts out and let them cool just enough so that you are able to handle them then start peeling them. Chestnuts HAVE to be peeled while still very warm, else the inner skin will become very hard and will just stick to the nut. Be extra careful not to burn or cut yourself (the shells do get really hard and those pointy “x” can become quite sharp…)
- Chop your peeled chestnuts coarsely and add them to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended.
- Transfer to a large oven safe baking dish, or two smaller ones (I like to be able to put one at each end of the table), cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for an additional 2o minutes, or until top is nice and golden brown.