Greek Chestnut Dressing
A beautiful cornucopia of dried fruit, nuts, and other ingredients to compliment any lavish dinner. This dish will go first with your guests.
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- Liver/gizzards of a turkey, or 1 lb of ground meat
- 2/3 cup of milk
- 1 lb of roasted chestnuts
- 1/3 cup of pine nuts
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 tbsp of parsley
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 3-4 cups of stale bread cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Warm up your oven to 350°.
- Using a stock pot on your stove, heat up the olive oil on medium-high.
- Place the onions into the oil and sauté until soft.
- Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Mix in the celery and sauté until it softens.
- Place the meat into the pot with the vegetables.
- Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the meat is partially brown.
- Pour in the milk.
- Stir in the chestnuts and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the pine nuts, raisins, cinnamon, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Stir the mixture and cook for five more minutes.
- Add in the bread cubes and stir.
- Move the dressing to a baking pan and place in the oven.
- Bake the dressing until it begins to brown on top.
The choice of meat is really up to you. When I've made this dressing, I didn't have any liver or gizzards from a turkey, so I bought ground beef. You could also try pork, lamb, or even sausage. If you do have the liver and gizzards of a turkey, go with it.
When it comes to the chestnuts, I'll admit I go the easier route and buy packaged roasted chestnuts. It's not just about the convenience, but also the guarantee of a back of good chestnuts, as sometimes you'll buy fresh ones and end up with 1/4 to 1/3 of them spoiled. However, if you want to roast fresh chestnuts, Take a few steps from when we made Chestnut Puree:
- Preheat open to 425°
- Using knife that has teeth, cut an X into the round side of each chestnut shell.
- Place chestnuts into a stock pot or saucepan and fill with water until they are just covering the nuts.
- Add in a dash of salt.
- Heat the pot on the stove on high until the water comes to a boil.
- Remove the nuts from the water and place in a single layer on a baking pan.
- Put chestnuts in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove roasted chestnuts from oven and allow them to cool.
- Peel all chestnuts and set the nut meat aside while discarding the shells.
If you need stale bread cubes, just cut up 5-6 slices of your favorite bread into cubes and leave them out overnight to harden.
Making this as a stuffing: If you wish to make this a stuffing for your turkey, simply hold off on cooking any of the ingredients. Mix them all together in their raw form, stuff your bird, and let it slow cook inside. It'll be just fine. I personally like dressings better because they can be done beforehand.
You can variate on this one any way you like. Raisins are preferred as the dried fruit, but I've seen some use dried cranberries or apricots.
The pine nuts are a part of this recipe, but they are truly optional. At the time I made this recipe, they were $9 a pound, thus a bit too pricey for me. However, they are a mainstay of this recipe, and thus I leave it in hoping the price will drop one day.
Healthy It Up
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free: I recently was challenged to make this recipe for a guest who is on a diet free of gluten, dairy, and soy. What I ended up doing was to substitute unsweetened almond milk for the regular milk, and use gluten-free rice bread for the cubes. Worked out perfectly and no one could even tell.
If you're allowing yourself some gravy, definitely put some on top. It's magical.