Bethesda Magazine | November-December 2017

The Right Stuff

Serve a dish studded with cranberries and chestnuts for the holidays

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Baking the stuffing separately from the turkey is safer than cooking it inside the turkey, and the result is tastier stuffing and a tastier turkey.

Difficulty Level:

On the Clock: 1 hour(some ingredients have to be prepped two days earlier)

Servings: 10


2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake or oyster)

½ teaspoon salt

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

½ cup (1 stick) softened butter, plus 2 tablespoons

6 eggs

2 cups chicken stock (more if needed)salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

½ cup canned, frozen or raw chestnuts (shells removed)

1 cup fresh cranberries

½ cup raisins soaked in brandy or cognac for 12 hours

1 pound cornbread, sliced into 1-inch cubes and set out to air-dry for two days

1 pound wheat bread, sliced into 1-inch cubes and set out to air-dry for two days

½ cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of sage, parsley, thyme or oregano)

Note: Raisins need to be soaked for 12 hours, and cornbread and wheat bread need to air-dry for two days.


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add the canola oil and when it’s hot, add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms take a deep brown color and are almost crisp, then add ½ teaspoon salt. Drain off the fat and set mushrooms aside.

3. Combine the onion, carrot and celery in a bowl. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add the vegetables to the skillet with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and stock. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and cayenne.

5. Add the carrots, celery, onion, one stick of butter, chestnuts, cranberries, raisins and all but one cup of each type of bread cubes. Toss, making sure the butter is evenly distributed throughout. The mixture should be moist, not sopping wet or crumbly dry. Adjust consistency by either adding more bread or more stock. Add the herbs.

6. Line a lasagna pan or other baking dish with buttered parchment paper (buttered side up) and add the stuffing mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

7. Bake for approximately one hour until the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.