Chestnut Stuffing with Pancetta and California Prunes

As I’m gearing up for a big Thanksgiving week, I would like to share my new favorite recipe for stuffing my turkey. The sweet acidity of the California Prunes pairs beautifully with the rich savory flavors of the pancetta and chestnuts, for an irresistible side dish that just might steal the show!

Stuffing di pancetta, castagne e prugne della California

  • 1 (1 1/2-lb) sourdough loaf, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 14 oz (400 g) coarsely chopped pancetta slices (about 3 cups)
  • 1 stick (115 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 cups chopped celery (5 to 6 ribs)
  • 4 cups chopped onions (2 large)
  • 17 oz (500 g) peeled cooked whole chestnuts, halved (3 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) pitted prunes (2 cups), quartered
  • 4 1/3 cups (1 liter) turkey stock , heated to liquefy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Serves 12

Preheat oven to 400°F/ 200°C.

Scatter bread in a single layer in 2 large  cookie sheets and toast, stirring once or twice and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden and dry, about 15 minutes.

Sauté pancetta in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add butter until melted, then add celery and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Stir in sage, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute.

In a large bowl combine the bread cubes with the pancetta mixture, chestnuts, prunes and parsley. Whisk together stock and eggs, then stir into bread mixture until combined well. Transfer to a large, buttered baking dish.

Bake, loosely covered with a buttered sheet of foil (buttered side down) 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

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