It’s hard to get everyone on the same page on Thanksgiving. I mean… for some people its hard enough trying to prevent the room from blowing off.
Imagine 15 people sitting around a dinner table, expecting a delicious meal put together by 1 person, each nit-picky and not accustomed to Western flavor profile. That is my family.
What I love about stuffing, and specifically this stuffing, is that there is a little bit of something for everyone at the table. My uncle loves the chestnuts, my aunt loves the vegetables, the older sibling you never really wanted (yes, I’m talking about you Peter) can’t stop picking at the bacon – this is my “one dish” that everyone loves, that is always requested.
I started the recipe by removed the extra used in the dish and relied on bacon grease. Because pancetta was difficult to find, I sautéed the vegetables in the bacon grease. From that point forward, it’s just a matter of combining all the remaining ingredients until well combined and forming a delicious bowl of stuffing.
I’m often asked why I don’t stuff my turkey instead of serving it on the side. To be quite honest, it started because my aunt was usually in charge of the turkey and I the remaining dishes. After carefully studying Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving menu, I’ve come to learn that the tasty turkey juices that seep into the thanksgiving stuffing can also seep into your stomach and make you vomit.
Although I emphasize that 161 F is indeed a safe temperature for roasting a turkey, in order for the stuffing to reach the 161, the remaining turkey has to reach high temperatures that would dry the breast and legs out – not good eats. On the other hand, while a meat thermometer might register the meat as cooked, the stuffing may be under the Alton Brown recommended 161 and filled with salmonella juices.
Another note that I have is the fact that this is indeed technically called “dressing” instead of stuffing. But lets be real, with a family that has an heavy asian influence like mine, calling this dressing might actually convince them that I’m serving bread, chestnuts, and bacon with a bowl full of ranch.
Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Bacon
Adapted from Foodnetwork.com
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into1 inch pieces
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
- 1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9 dish with pam.
- Gently fry bacon until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the bacon. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat.
- Add enough broth to the mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.
- Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with foil sprayed with pan, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.