About a week before Christmas, I popped over to my parents’ place to tell them about how the dachshund I was house-sitting for had got into my completely zipped-up suitcase (which had been on top of the dining room table) and chewed up a month’s worth of the pill.
He’s just lucky I’m still exceedingly single, or we might have a Bristol Palin situation on our hands.
After I’d finished telling my parents this dachshund-pill-popping story, my mother said “That’s nice. Would you like to choose and make a gluten-free stuffing recipe for Christmas?”
She’s nothing if not a master of the segue.
And I’m nothing if not completely unsure as to whether that’s actually how the conversation went.
Anyhoo, I gleefully acquiesced to my mother’s request, but then I remembered that I’ve never liked stuffing.
I stared piercingly at this mother of mine for several minutes, trying to figure out if she was running a ploy aimed at broadening my taste horizons. Was this simply the first step in a diabolical plan? Was she next going to sneak Christmas pudding into my dinnertime bowl of peas, and glace ginger into my coffee? I wasn’t sure whether to trust her or not.
Then I got over myself. I decided that I’d find a stuffing recipe that looked tasty and then, if I still didn’t like it, I could safely label myself as Completely Anti-Stuffing.
That’s the stuffing on the bottom right. You know, in case you couldn’t work it out. Hmm.
I first scoured the internet for quinoa or millet-based stuffings, but then I remembered a recipe I’d had tucked away in a word document for months, if not years. I honestly don’t know where it came from, so please, whoever created this recipe which I have now adapted, accept my humble thanks for its scrumptiousness.
See what happened there? I admitted that this stuffing was scrumptious.
The reason I chose this recipe was its inclusion of chestnuts, which I love, and the reason I enjoyed it was its inclusion of chestnuts, herbs, and apple, which I love.
As you can see, whilst called a “stuffing”, this creation did not actually get stuffed anywhere. You could try putting it up the tookus of a bird if you’d like, but I’m quite happy with how it turned out simply nestled into a baking dish. After all, this way, it’s not only gluten-free and dairy-free but vegan to boot.
But, really, if tookuses are your thing, go for it.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Chestnut, Apple, and Sage Stuffing
- 2 tb (40g) Nuttelex (or butter/other butter substitute)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- leaves from several sprigs of thyme
- shakes of dried oregano, marjoram, garlic powder and whatever else floats your boat. (The original recipe said “poultry seasoning”. I just threw in dried herbs)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (I estimated this. But the more pepper the better, in my opinion)
- 1 1/4 cups (200g) roasted chestnuts, chopped (I used vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts)
- 1 medium apple, chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
- 5 leaves fresh sage, chopped
- 1 – 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
- 6 cups (260g) gluten-free bread with crusts cut off, cut into small cubes (weight is post-decrusting)
1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
2. In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, melt the Nuttelex. Add the onion, celery, parsley, thyme and dried herbs. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add pepper, chestnuts, apple, and half of the sage. Sauté until tender, again about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Fold in the bread cubes and stir gently, letting the bread soak up the broth without it dissolving into mush. If the stuffing is looking too dry, add more stock.
4. Fold in the rest of the sage, then transfer the stuffing to a casserole dish. Cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. If you want to crisp the top up a little, remove the foil for the last five minutes.
5. Sing “Chestnuuuuuuts roasting in an open oven…. Jack Frost nipping at your other-hemisphere-of-the-world…” I promise, your family will love you for the impromptu concert.