I am a nostalgic eater, especially around Thanksgiving.  The aroma of roasted potatoes, sage-rubbed turkey and fresh cranberries bubbling into a sauce on the stove takes me back.  Memories abound of the whole holiday affair from helping to set the table, fold napkins and shine our special silverware. The night before Thanksgiving was always sleepless and for good reason…

Visions of cheesy cauliflower,  savory chestnut stuffing and buttered baby peas and carrots danced in my head.  My grandmother made it all possible as she tinkered in the kitchen for days prior to us gathering around the table to give thanks.  Today, I share many of these foods and memories with own family.

A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful comes at such a fitting time.  However, it’s hard to point to just one food memory, but here’s a vivid holiday memory of …

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  They take me back to going into the city – New York City that is, with my two older sisters and my grandmother.  We’d take the train downtown to Macy’s at Herald Square.  It was larger than life there — and as a little girl, I’d look up in awe at the grand buildings adorned with holiday trimmings and trappings.  We’d pass all sorts of street vendors, but the ones that stand out are the chestnut-roasters as the warmth and sweet aroma were an attractive reprieve from the cold.  Wrapped in tinfoil packets, we’d clutched the nuts in our gloved hands and nibbled while window shopping.  I was so thankful for this delicious earthy nourishment, as well as the company of the people I loved most in the world.

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My grandmother roasted her own chestnuts and tossed them with sausage, hunks of white bread and seasonings to create a legendary dressing to our holiday feast.  Today, I am going to give her dish a nutrition boost – chestnuts will remain the star, but I will incorporate more veggies and whole grain bread into the mix.

Roasted Chestnut, Mushroom and Cranberry Stuffing

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Serves 5 (1 cup each)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup leeks, diced

1 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

10 whole chestnuts, roasted, shelled and diced

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium

1 loaf whole grain Artisan bread, diced

2 Tablespoons fresh sage, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Score chestnuts with a pairing knife.  Place chestnuts in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven when shell is turning up, let cool for a minute.  Using a pairing knife gently peel the skin away.  (I’ve also seen that chefs boil them in hot water for a few minutes and shell with pliers.)  Once chestnuts are shelled, set aside.

Put olive oil in pan, add leeks, mushrooms, cranberries and chestnuts and stir to heat.  Once heated, add broth and bread.  Mix to moisten bread.  Add sage and salt and pepper.  Serve immediately or put in warm oven until served.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 229, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg,  Sodium: 403 mg, Carbohydrates:  35 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 7 g

Enjoy eating simply,

Vicki

P.S. Happy and healthy holiday season to you and your family!

                   

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10 thoughts on “Food Nostalgia: Roasted Chestnut, Mushroom and Cranberry Stuffing

  • November 22, 2014 at 7:18 am
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    Welcome to the Redux! This looks wonderful. I wonder what gluten free bread I could use without losing the texture and flavor?

    Reply
    • November 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm
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      Thanks for the warm welcome! Yes, you could definitely use gluten free bread. Udi’s is good! Let me know if you try it…:). Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  • November 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm
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    That’s such an iconic American memory. LOVE that I actually know someone who has it – I’ll think of you every time I sing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” I love roasted chestnuts…got them all the time at farmers markets in Chicago – but haven’t found them here yet. ):

    Reply
    • November 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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      Thanks! I loved thinking about those days for the post as it really brought me back…I found chestnuts at my local grocer, too. Hope you can find some there soon. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply
    • November 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm
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      Thanks so much. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  • November 23, 2014 at 2:29 am
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    Welcome to Recipe Redux! Great to have you… and to read about your stuffing. The only thing missing is roasting the chestnuts by an open fire. :) I have never used chestnuts but maybe it’s time!

    Reply
    • November 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm
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      Thanks, Janice! Yes, it would make it more authentic if I had an open fire available.-) I highly recommend boiling the chestnuts to get the shells off…let me know if you try them (and the stuffing). Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply
    • November 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm
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      Thanks, Michaela! Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

      Reply

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