This savory pancetta chestnut stuffing is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Plus, it’s dairy free and can be made ahead of time. Makes about 12 servings.
Happy Friday Gilmore fans! This week we’re getting ready for a Gilmore Girls Thanksgiving dinner with some pancetta chestnut stuffing. It’s obviously from the Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving episode, but this pancetta chestnut stuffing never actually gets made. Instead, Sookie ends up drinking Thanksgiving margaritas and waiting for her deep fried turkey. I couldn’t pass this one up though because I knew it has some serious flavor potential and it makes an excellent dairy free turkey stuffing. It would also go really well with Mrs. Kim’s tofurky.
I had never actually cooked with chestnuts before, and I had a little trouble finding them early in the season (hello, food blogger life). I did find these prepared chestnuts in my baking aisle by the candied fruit and pie fillings. It ended up being a perfect shortcut though, and I don’t think I’d actually go out of my way to prepare fresh chestnuts for something like this, even if they do add such a delicate sweetness to the dish. Thanksgiving is a lot of work, so let’s make our lives easier when we can. Same goes for the unseasoned stuffing mix I like to use in all of my homemade stuffing recipes.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this chestnut stuffing recipe:
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- 9×13 baking dish
How to make pancetta chestnut stuffing
Mise en place. Before you begin cooking, chop your pancetta, chestnuts and vegetables and preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
Crisp your pancetta. Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add the olive oil and chopped pancetta. Cook the pancetta, stirring as you go, until it’s nice and crispy. It should take about 5 – 10 minutes, and you’ll have a decent amount of rendered fat when it’s done. This is what you’re going to cook your vegetables in.
Sauté your vegetables. Add your chopped veggies to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent. Stir as need to prevent burning. Add the chopped chestnuts, your savory herbs and a splash of white wine (make sure it’s dairy free), and cook until softened. Just before it’s done, melt in your vegan butter or vegan buttery spread.
Wet your stuffing mix. Place your stuffing mix in a large mixing bowl. Transfer your cooked vegetables and seasonings to the bowl and add the chicken broth. Stir the mixture to make sure the breadcrumbs are evenly coated and moistened.
When your chicken broth is mixed in, scramble your egg in the empty measuring cup (no need to dirty extra dishes). Add the egg to the stuffing mix and stir to combine.
Bake the stuffing. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The top should be nice and browned, and the center should be set.
Make ahead tips for pancetta chestnut stuffing:
Want to make this ahead of time? Prepare the stuffing until you reach the baking step. Refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking. Bring stuffing to room temperature before baking for the recommended time.
If you plan to reheat the stuffing later, only bake it for 15 – 20 minutes. Let cool completely before covering and refrigerating. To reheat, bake stuffing for 10 – 15 minutes (straight from the refrigerator).
Want to make this gluten free? Try substituting this gluten free stuffing mix (you may need two packages).
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This savory pancetta chestnut stuffing is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Plus, it’s dairy free and can be made ahead of time.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 ounces chopped pancetta (or prosciutto)
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 8 ounces prepared chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon each: dried thyme, sage, rosemary
- 3 tablespoons white wine (or 1 tablespoon vinegar/lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1 12-ounce package unseasoned stuffing mix
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add olive oil and pancetta, cooking until pancetta is crispy and brown, and the fat has fully rendered, about 10 minutes.
- Add onion and celery to pan, and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add chestnuts, herbs and wine. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vegan butter and continue to cook until melted.
- Place stuffing mix in a large mixing bowl. Transfer mixture from skillet and add chicken broth to bowl. Stir to evenly coat breadcrumbs.
- Stir in egg, working quick to prevent egg from cooking until fully combined. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until top has browned and center is fully set.
- Remove from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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