Stuffing is without a doubt my favorite part of any holiday meal. In fact, it's one of the few dishes I'll eat even if it's made from a box. But as easy as it is to add water and fluff with a fork, I also love experimenting with new flavors. This year, I added chestnuts to a leek and mushroom stuffing I was craving shortly after Thanksgiving. When combined with lots of fresh herbs, it makes for a very hearty side dish with earthy appeal.
LEEK AND MUSHROOM STUFFING WITH CHESTNUTS
This dish can be assembled ahead of time and baked before serving. If left in the fridge overnight, let the stuffing come to room temperature before baking.
6 cups bread from 1 long baget, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and sliced
10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup peeled, roasted chestnuts, halved
1 cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread in a single layer and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, until slightly dried out. Alternatively, you can leave bread on the counter for 24 hours to achieve the same effect. Raise oven temperature to 450
In a large saute pan over medium heat, add a turn of olive oil, then the leeks and celery. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and herbs and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper; cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked through. Add the chestnuts and the reserved bread and stir to combine. Add chicken stock to moisten the stuffing, then pour into a baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the top is crisp and golden brown.