Last week my school hosted a big potluck Thanksgiving lunch for the faculty and staff. Knowing that there are other vegetarians on the payroll, and the fact that I always like to further my reputation as the weirdo black sheep art teacher, I decided to make a veggie friendly version of a classic. I found a delicious sounding trio of stuffing recipes at Healthy. Happy. Life. and decided to fix a tray of Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ Chestnut goodness.
I made a few changes to the recipe as noted below. I found working with and tasting chestnuts a surprising experience – they are fun to prepare, but taste like dry chicken. I was worried about this until I realized that they created a very life-like substitute for the nasty turkey parts that usually hide out in traditional stuffing. The final product filled my house with the most amazing smell. My dad had to sneak a bite of it before I hid it away in the fridge, and it got a solid thumbs up and the stamp of approval as possessing the right “stuffing taste,” the same as what my Grandma makes.
Recipe #3: Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ Chestnut Stuffing
6-7 cups diced bread cubes (I used plain ol Whitewheat)
3 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
1 cup onion, chopped (white or yellow)
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced thin
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning (spice blend) (Couldn’t find any. Used Sazon Completa.)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
1/4 cup roasted chestnuts, whole
1 medium apple, chopped (granny smith, fuji or honeycrisp varieties are my faves)
5 leaves fresh sage, chopped (Used dry.)
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 links Apple Sage flavor of Vegan Sausage, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups) (Used plain flavor.)
1. De-crust your bread. Slice into small cubes. Set aside.
2. Prepare the diced vegan sausage by sauteing in a skillet until the bits become browned and a bit crispy on the outside. Set Aside.
3. In a medium soup pan, turn heat on med-high, and melt in the buttery spread. Add the celery, onion, parsley and poultry seasoning. Saute until tender.
4. Add in the black pepper, chestnuts, apple and 1/2 of your sage. Saute until tender.
5. Add in the remaining ingredients: walnuts and your veggie broth. Let simmer for a few seconds and go grab your bread.
6. Fold in your bread cubes. Try not to ‘mash’ the bread, but you also want it soaked through. You may need to add more or less bread cubes depending on the dryness of your bread. Too soggy? Add more cubes. Too dense? Add a bit more veggie broth.
7. Lastly, fold in your sausage bits and last bits of fresh sage.
The article cites a few different non-bird hole ways to “stuff” your stuffing. Since I was preparing the food to travel and be re-heated the next day, I took the easiest route and put it in a casserole, heated to 400 and cooked for about 15 minutes, let cool and then transferred to the fridge. The next day when it was time to serve, I put it at 400 for about another 15. This worked out to take any sogginess out of the dish – even though my bread cubes weren’t stale enough, the refrigeration and re-heating the next day meant that the stuffing got a little bit drier.