The best chestnut stuffing recipe for Christmas dinner | Real Homes

The best chestnut stuffing recipe for Christmas dinner

The perfect accompaniment to the Christmas roast, traditional chestnut stuffing brings out all the flavours on your plate – plus there's a tasty veggie option too

Chestnut stuffing recipe
(Image credit: Getty)

No matter how full your Christmas plate, there's always space for a serving of traditional chestnut stuffing alongside the turkey, pigs in blankets, sprouts, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. 

You can cook the stuffing separately in a baking dish, or loosely pack it inside the neck cavity of the bird, either way this tried-and-tested chestnut stuffing recipe will bring flavoursome results. 

We've even included a vegetarian version of the recipe below, that's just as tasty as the traditional sausage meat version and can be served up without the meat as part of a vegetarian Christmas dinner. 

Our recipe uses tinned chestnuts for ease and comfort - does anyone else find whole roasted chestnuts the most painful things to peel? But if you prefer you can use fresh roasted chestnuts, weighing them after shelling. 

For all the rest of our recipes, go to our dedicated hub page.

You will need:

  • 50g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • 250g sausagemeat
  • 6 ready-to-eat apricots
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage or 1 tsp dried
  • 75g white breadcrumbs (from day old bread)
  • 125g tinned chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method

1. Heat a small frying pan and dry fry the streaky bacon until the fat runs, then fry the onion in the bacon fat for about three minutes until softened.

2. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates.

3. Remove from the pan from the heat, tip the onion and bacon into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.

4. Add the sausage meat, apricots, sage, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, lemon zest and seasoning and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

5. Allow the stuffing to return to room temperature before loosely stuffing the turkey neck, securing the flaps of skin over the stuffing with cocktail sticks. 

6. Stuff the turkey immediately before cooking – DO NOT leave uncooked stuffing in the uncooked bird overnight as this is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

7. Follow the cooking instructions for your choice of meat, using the weight of the stuffed bird to calculate the cooking time and NEVER stuff the cavity of the bird. Alternatively you can cook the stuffing separately in a baking dish for around 30 minutes at 180ºC.

Fresh chestnuts in their shells

(Image credit: Getty)

Ingredients for vegetarian chestnut stuffing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • 6 ready-to-eat apricots
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage or 1 tsp dried
  • 75g white breadcrumbs (from day old bread)
  • 125g tinned chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method

1. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for about three minutes until softened. Add the chopped mushrooms.

2. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates.

3. Remove from the pan from the heat, tip the cooked onion and mushrooms into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.

4. Stir in the apricots, sage, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, lemon zest and seasoning. If you like a smoother stuffing you can pulse all the ingredients in a food processor to combine at this point, then refrigerate until you’re ready to cook. 

5. Loosely pack the stuffing into a small roasting tin or baking dish, cover with foil and cook at 180ºC for around 30 minutes.

More Christmas must-haves: