Sausage & Chestnut Stuffing

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Sausage & Chestnut Stuffing
From Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book (Canada, UK), by Bruce Aidells.

The recipe will stuff 2 large roasting chickens. Four times this recipe will make more than can be stuffed into a medium-sized turkey, so you should have plenty left over for hungry guests.

Ingredients: 

1 cup fresh chestnuts (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 pound Yankee Sage Sausage, Iowa Farm Sausage patties, mild Italian, or other fresh sausage, in bulk or removed from casings
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups dried bread cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butter (optional)

Instructions:

To prepare the chestnuts, preheat the oven to 450°F (220°C). Cut a deep cross on one side of each chestnut. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the shells begin to open. Remove the shells and inner skin. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot. Add the chestnuts, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the chestnuts and reserve the stock. Chop the cooked chestnuts coarsely.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C).

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and fry for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Add the onion, celery, and oregano. Cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook for 5 minutes more.

In a large bowl, mix together the chestnuts, sausage-vegetable mixture, and bread cubes. Mix well and add some of the reserved stock to moisten. The dressing should be moist but not wet. Taste for salt and pepper.

Loosely stuff the birds and roast at 350°F (175°C) until done, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours for a 5- to 6-pound roasting chicken (meat thermometer should read 170°F; 75°C).

To bake the stuffing outside the birds, add a little more stock. Butter a 3- to 4-quart casserole, fill with stuffing, dot with butter, cover, and bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

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