What with have a goose rather than a turkey, I somehow managed to avoid having anything with chestnuts in it for Christmas dinner. So this afternoon I'm baking a tray of my favourite chestnut stuffing, to have cold at Hogswatch. I've made this regularly for about 30 years now, it's a recipe by Josceline Dimbleby from the first ever Sainsbury's cookbook, her Cooking for Christmas.
- 4 oz smoked streaky bacon, in small cubes
- 2 oz butter
- 1 onion chopped finely
- turkey heart and liver, chopped finely (if you've got giblets, otherwise don't bother)
- 6 oz chopped mushrooms
- 10 oz tin chestnut puree (unsweetened)
- 1 small tube smooth liver pate
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 whisked egg
- salt and pepper
Fry the bacon, onion, and giblets in the butter for about 5 minutes. Scrape it all into a bowl, making sure you get all the fat, and mix in everything else. Put in a baking dish, baste with turkey juices if you're roasting a bird at the same time, and cook with the bird for the last 45 minutes.
I have taken over the years to adding a pack of ready-peeled chestnuts, crumbled, sprinkling it with sherry and chicken stock if no turkey juices are to hand, and find that 45 minutes in a square baking tray at Gas Mark 3 works fine. You can make it into balls if you're that way inclined. It sounds odd, especially that quantity of oregano, but it's very tasty and seriously moreish.