Whole Wheat Stuffing w/ Pancetta, Chestnuts and Parmesan

Whole Wheat Stuffing w/ Pancetta, Chestnuts and Parmesan

The original Thanksgiving Day feast did not have milk, cheese, bread or butter so I’m guessing they didn’t have pancetta either.  Lucky for us, we can easily find these ingredients to spice up the holiday stuffing.  Pancetta, I am thankful for you!!!

My usual contribution to the Thanksgiving feast is pumpkin cheesecake but this is the year to come out of my shell.  Pie shell, that is!  When the Bon Appétit October issue came in the mail, I was quite inspired by the variety of stuffing recipes.  My taste buds were immediately drawn to the one incorporating pancetta.  I’m a sucker for bacon.
So began my obsession to perfect this dish before it’s debut at the end of the month.  My first attempt came out a bit dry and perhaps baking in a toaster oven has something to do with it.  After a few modifications, my second batch turned out to be a huge success.  I’m glad we have three weeks to give our taste buds a rest from all this stuffing!

1/2 lb. pancetta, cut into 1/4-in. chunks
1 whole wheat baguette, cubed (approx. 10 cups)
7 ounces steamed chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together cubed baguette with olive oil.  Place bread cubes on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until the bread are as crusty as croutons (approximately 20 minutes).  Remove croutons from oven and place back in the large mixing bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Remove pancetta from skillet with a slotted spoon and add to the large mixing bowl.  Using the reserved grease, saute onions for 6 minutes, then add chopped chestnuts.  Saute for another 5 minutes and add minced rosemary and thyme.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the mixture to the large mixing bowl.  Toss all the ingredients together (this can be done one day in advance).  Store in refrigerator.
  3. Bring chicken broth to a boil and reduce it to 2 1/2 cups.  Meanwhile, whisk the eggs then gradually add the grated parmesan cheese.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth to the egg and cheese mixture.  Pour mixture into the large mixing bowl and toss with the bread and pancetta.
  4. Transfer the stuffing into a buttered glass baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.  Gobble it up immediately!

Peru 2009 325

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