Challah Chestnut Mushroom “Unstuffing”

1 large (1 lb, 5 oz) challah, torn into bite-sized bits
1 large onion, diced
3 1/2 oz roasted, peeled chestnuts*, diced
2 oz oyster mushrooms, chopped
2 oz shiitake mushrooms, chopped
8 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 lb celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
sea salt
freshly ground pepper


In a large pan, saute celery and mushrooms in olive oil over very low heat until the celery is soft translucent. Do not brown. Meanwhile, fry the onion in onion in a large saucepan until blackened. Cool slightly. Add to bread in the bowl and add the spices, chestnuts and herbs. Combine with egg and stock. Form medium-sized balls.

Refrigerate until ready to use, up to overnight. Place balls in the bottom of the roasting pan under the rack and around the turkey on the rack for the last 1/2 hour of roasting and cook until cooked through.

*I used the kind that comes in the resealable pouch.

My thoughts:

If you’ve been following my previous Thanksgiving posts over the years, you know I don’t stuff the turkey, I don’t bake the stuffing in a pan, I make stuffing balls and place them around the turkey. This gives them a bit of flavor from the turkey without worrying about stuffing the turkey and risking bacterial growth or slowing down the cooking process. When I realized we’d be celebrating Thanksgivukkah this year, I knew I’d have to make my stuffing with challah but I wasn’t sure of what else should be inside. I had noticed quite a few wintery recipes using chestnuts (a surprising number; I normally associate them with Christmas) in the Jewish cookbooks I was reading in preparation for the holidays so when I came across some chestnuts at the store that were already peeled and roasted (have you ever had to deal with a raw chestnut? My advice: don’t)I thought I’d incorporate them into the stuffing. I liked it a lot. Just as in the chestnut cranberry sauce, they added a rich nutty flavor without being overpowering. I browned my onions kasha style instead of leaving the soft as I normally do. That added a deep caramelized flavor. Then I added my favorite: mushrooms and the results were spectacular. One of my favorite stuffings so far.

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One Comment

  1. I don't stuff my turkey either! I usually do my stuffing in a pan, but this intrigues me. Thanks for the idea!