Chestnut Apple Challah Stuffing
Or, Thanksgiving with a Hannukah Twist!
To celebrate the 'once in my lifetime' collision of Thanksgiving with Hannukah, I made a stuffing (although it wasn't...stuffed) with the good Thanksgiving flavors of roasted chestnuts and leeks and fennel, with a nod to Hannukah with apples and challah bread. I confess that while that all sounds very nicely planned to honor the holidays, a major motivation in each dish I prepared was how it would taste as a left-over. This was the first Thanksgiving in years that I was able to host, and I was very excited about having leftovers!
As usual, I knew the flavors I wanted, and after scanning multiple recipes in books and online, this is what I ended up with (with a few improvisations while making, of course!):
6 cups (1/2-inch) Challah
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 stick goat butter
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups roasted chestnuts (14 to 16 ounces), halved
1 cup Coconut Cream
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F
Bake bread cubes on a large sheet pan for about 15 minutes, in the upper third of the oven (you can also leave them out to dry for a couple of days if you plan ahead).
Raise oven temperature to 450°F.
Wash and prepare leeks and fennel. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then cook leeks, fennel, and celery, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, apples, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with bread, chestnuts, coconut cream, and parsley. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and combine thoroughly. Spread in a 2 1/2-to 3-quart shallow baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, in lower third of oven until heated through and top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Leftover Report: Rich, yet light - very yum!
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