While the turkey gets the pride of place at the Thanksgiving table, the flair for the meal comes from the stuffing. It is in the stuffing (a.k.a. dressing) that one can make that turkey dinner truly unique. For the past several years, I have made this wonderful Chestnut, Pear, and Wild Rice Stuffing which the family really enjoys. Chestnuts and pears are my two must-have ingredients. I added the wild rice to make it “Minnesotan” when we moved here. Wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota and it is easily available at this time of the year.
In the past, I would roast or boil raw chestnuts for this stuffing. This is usually done the day before as shelling and peeling chestnuts can be very tedious. Fortunately, I was able to abandon this task when I discovered peeled and ready to eat chestnuts at the Asian market. This is so much easier and has really cut down on the preparation time.
Sage, rosemary, and thyme are added to the stuffing to tie it back to the Roast Turkey using the same herbs. Apple juice provides a little more sweetness on top of the juicy pears. Homemade Rice Bread makes this stuffing gluten free. Please use regular bread if gluten is not an issue for you.
This stuffing can be cooked the day before Thanksgiving. After transferring to the baking dish, simply allow it to cool and refrigerate. Only put it in the oven 20 minutes before dinner is served.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 stick celery, finely diced
- ½ tsp rubbed sage
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 pears, peeled and diced
- ½ cup (85g) wild rice
- 8 slices bread, cubed
- 2 cups (480ml) apple juice
- Salt and pepper
- 7 oz (200g) roasted and peeled chestnuts
Cook wild rice in 2 cups (480ml) of water for 45 minutes or until it fluffs up. Drain any remaining liquid left in the pot. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat vegetable oil. Saute onion, carrot, and celery for 3 minutes. Stir in rubbed sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Add pears and cooked wild rice. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add cubed bread and apple juice.
Give it a stir then add chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to get ingredients well mixed. Allow it to cook for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Transfer to a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20 minutes.
Here are the links to the recipes in the picture below…
NOTE: This post was updated on November 26th, 2014 with new pictures.