TRUE CONFESSION: I wait ALL DAMN YEAR for this, The Best Leek and Chestnut Stuffing. It is my life. Why do I love it? It’s just the greatest freaking stuffing ever! It’s so buttery, so delicious, so flavoursome…it makes everything it touches turn to gold. I’m not sure I would even bother with making Thanksgiving dinner (*not that anyone would notice, because I’m the only person I know who celebrates it*) if there were no stuffing. It’s that good.
Let me give you the straight dope on this recipe. It’s made with a light sourdough bread, because sourdough equals flavour. It’s got a very generous amount of butter in it. It’s got sweet, slow-cooked leeks, crumbly chestnuts, and plenty of sage and thyme in the mix. The whole lot gets doused with chicken stock, and bound with a few eggs, and what you end up with is a buttery, savoury, herby stuffing, which is almost like a savoury bread pudding.
DOES THAT NOT SOUND AMAZING?
The even cooler thing about it is that you can do the whole she-bang in advance, and then just bake it on the day. Who doesn’t love getting a job out of the way a day early? I know I do. The other cool thing is, if you swap the chicken stock for veg stock, then this here stuffing is actually vegetarian. Which makes it a perfect turkey-substitute for any of your lovely guests who don’t dig on meat. Is this guy a winner or what?
I can also advise that once you have sampled a leftover turkey sandwich, which has a slab of this stuffing tucked into the middle of it (maybe reheated in a little gravy…) you will never go back. It’s too good! Gahd, I love it so much. Ok, I’ll shut up now, recipe is below!
- ½ small loaf light sourdough bread, cubed (about 6 cups cubed)
- 1 stick (115g) butter
- 2 leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup chestnuts (either canned or peeled, fresh chestnuts)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 eggs
- Chop the bread into large cubes (1 inch/2-3cm) and set aside to dry out while you get on with everything else.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan, and add the sliced leeks, chopped herbs, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the leeks are very soft and sweet - really give them time.
- When the leeks look and smell amazing, crumble in almost all the chestnus, reserving a few whole ones for later, and cook for another minute or so.
- Add in the cubed bread, and stir everything over the heat, so that the bread soaks up all the liquid in the pan, and everything gets coated and combined.
- If you're making this ahead of time, set this mixture aside to cool completely and then proceed with the remaining steps.
- Pour in a cup of stock, and stir - you want all the bread to be moist, but not waterlogged. Different bread soaks up different amounts of liquid, so you stop here, but you will probably need the second cup of stock, so go ahead and stir that in as well.
- Finally, whisk together the eggs, and then stir vigourously into the bread mixture, really beating it up a bit.
- Tip into a buttered baking dish, spread the mixture out and scatter over the remaining whole chestnuts, bake in a 180C for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on top.