Old-Fashioned Chestnut Sausage Stuffing

Old Fashioned Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing

This old family recipe is from my husband's mother, Nicole, who came to America as the French bride of an American soldier after WWII. Having grown up in France as the daughter of a rich doctor, she had never learned to cook. Not only that, but she didn't know anything about preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for her new American husband.

Luckily, Nicole's American neighbor wanted to help her out and taught her this mouth-watering old-fashioned stuffing. She prepared it for me on the first Thanksgiving I spent at her house. Ever since, it has been the favorite Thanksgiving dish in our family. I can't wait to eat it myself!

Step by Step Photos of Chestnut Stuffing Recipe

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Chestnut Stuffing. Prepare Chestnut for roasting or boiling. Take chestnuts on flat side.Cutting Chestnut with scissors. Cut an X on the flat side of the chestnut using either scissors, as I do here.Cutting chestnut with knife.  Cut through both the hard outer skin and the inner skin.How to Cut Chestnuts for Roasting: Here is one with the X on it.How to Roast Chestnuts: Place the chestnuts with the X up on a pan.Roasting Chestnuts in oven: Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.Roasted Chestnuts. They will open up like this.  Take off the outer and inner husks.  If you have trouble getting the inner husks out, put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.Chestnuts: Chop up the chestnuts coarsely.Chestnut stuffing mixture: Mix together toasted bread cubes, cooked sausage, herbs and chestnuts in a 13 by 9 inch pan.  Pour on the turkey broth and mix around. Chestnut Sausage Stuffing: Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until heated through.  You can keep this warm in the oven (at about 235 degrees) until the rest of the dinner is ready.
Chestnut Stuffing.
Chestnut Stuffing. | Source
Prepare Chestnut for roasting or boiling. Take chestnuts on flat side.
Prepare Chestnut for roasting or boiling. Take chestnuts on flat side. | Source
Cutting Chestnut with scissors. Cut an X on the flat side of the chestnut using either scissors, as I do here.
Cutting Chestnut with scissors. Cut an X on the flat side of the chestnut using either scissors, as I do here. | Source
Cutting chestnut with knife.  Cut through both the hard outer skin and the inner skin.
Cutting chestnut with knife. Cut through both the hard outer skin and the inner skin. | Source
How to Cut Chestnuts for Roasting: Here is one with the X on it.
How to Cut Chestnuts for Roasting: Here is one with the X on it. | Source
How to Roast Chestnuts: Place the chestnuts with the X up on a pan.
How to Roast Chestnuts: Place the chestnuts with the X up on a pan. | Source
Roasting Chestnuts in oven: Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Roasting Chestnuts in oven: Put them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. | Source
Roasted Chestnuts. They will open up like this.  Take off the outer and inner husks.  If you have trouble getting the inner husks out, put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Roasted Chestnuts. They will open up like this. Take off the outer and inner husks. If you have trouble getting the inner husks out, put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. | Source
Chestnuts: Chop up the chestnuts coarsely.
Chestnuts: Chop up the chestnuts coarsely. | Source
Chestnut stuffing mixture: Mix together toasted bread cubes, cooked sausage, herbs and chestnuts in a 13 by 9 inch pan.  Pour on the turkey broth and mix around.
Chestnut stuffing mixture: Mix together toasted bread cubes, cooked sausage, herbs and chestnuts in a 13 by 9 inch pan. Pour on the turkey broth and mix around. | Source
Chestnut Sausage Stuffing: Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until heated through.  You can keep this warm in the oven (at about 235 degrees) until the rest of the dinner is ready.
Chestnut Sausage Stuffing: Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until heated through. You can keep this warm in the oven (at about 235 degrees) until the rest of the dinner is ready. | Source

Cook Time for Chestnut Sausage Stuffing

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 10 to 12 servings

Chestnut Sausage Stuffing Recipe Rating

5 stars from 3 ratings of Chestnut Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients for Chestnut Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 lb. chesnuts, shelled and chopped
  • 1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 10 slices white or wheat bread, toasted and cut into 1
  • 1 onion, chopped and sauteed
  • 1 TB Herbs de Provence, (or Italian herb mix)
  • 1-2 cups turkey or chicken broth

Instructions for Chestnut Sausage Stuffing

  1. Prepare chestnuts by cutting through skin in an X shape with scissors or a knife. Boil for 20-30 minutes or bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Let chestnuts cool and then peel off the shell and skin. Break or cut nutmeat into chunks. If you have problems peeling, then try baking or boiling a little longer.
  3. Prepare other ingredients:Toast bread and cut into 1 inch squares. Sauté sausage and drain grease. Then add the onion and sauté until tender.
  4. Mix bread, sausage/onion mixture, chestnuts and 1 TB Herbs de Provence in a baking pan. Pour over 1-2 cups of broth (more for a moister dressing, less for more crunchy stuffing). Note: You can also use to stuff a Turkey. Mixture should stuff a 20 lb. turkey.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Tips: You can prepare this stuffing ahead of time and keep in refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking. This stuffing also freezes extremely well. I've actually frozen leftovers from Christmas and served them at Easter.

Why Chestnut Stuffing?

The chestnuts give this dish a very unique taste. Chestnuts were once all over America but in 1904 a fungus disease wiped out the American trees. Now many of our chestnuts are imported, but some growers are starting to revive the cultivation of chestnuts in America by using a fungus resistant Chinese chestnut.

I suppose that is why my only Christmas experience of seeing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" came on an adoption trip in China when I saw a man on the street roasting chestnuts and handing them out in paper containers.

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How to Choose and Prepare Chestnuts

Faster, Easier Pecan or Canned Chestnut Stuffing

I've also made this same recipe with pecans. You could probably substitute almonds or walnuts as well. The pecans had a very nice taste, but I still think that the chestnuts are better. Although it takes time to peel the chestnuts, I think it is worth it and my family won't let me miss making Chestnut Sausage Stuffing every Thanksgiving. Moreover, this recipe freezes well, so we sometimes save some of it for Christmas. If you really want to avoid peeling the chestnuts, you can buy them canned.

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