Pancetta and Chestnut Stuffing 3.09 A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving
“A couple of days ago, Jackson asked me if he could cook the turkey. I thought he was gonna roast it, stick a couple of onions around it, something simple. So I said yes, figuring that the minute he put it in the oven and leaves the kitchen, I can sneak in and give it a nice herb butter rub and stuff it with a pancetta chestnut stuffing.”
2 tbsp butter
½ lb pancetta, finely diced
1 white onion, diced
⅓ cup celery, chopped
⅓ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup peeled and roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
10-12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ loaf sourdough stale sourdough bread (leave out overnight), cut into large cubes
⅓ cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, grated
1 ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan then add the pancetta.
Sauté the pancetta over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside in a large bowl. Do not drain the pan.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until tender.
Add the chestnuts, sage, and rosemary and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the herbs have wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat.
In the large bowl with the pancetta, add the vegetable mixture, bread, and cheese. Use your hands to fully combine the mixture.
Carefully add the chicken broth to the bowl a little at a time as you use your hands to ensure the broth is evenly distributed. The bread should be moist, but not soaked.
Transfer the stuffing to a greased 9x9 inch baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake the stuffing at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and allow to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
It’s Thanksgiving in July! There was so much food to choose from for this episode. I could have gone with tofurkey, chocolate turkeys, deep-fried turkey, but I really didn’t want to make turkey in any form. Thanksgiving is not a holiday I typically celebrate. For a lot of my life, my parents had to work on Thanksgiving, so I used to make full Thanksgiving feasts for my sister and myself (and then my parents to have as leftovers once they got home). But then I realized it’s actually pretty affordable to travel during Thanksgiving, and I have that week off from work anyway. So about 4 years ago, I started going on a trip every year for Thanksgiving break. Obviously, last year, we didn’t go anywhere due to the pandemic, but I decided to make a British-themed meal since it was the anniversary of our London trip.
Growing up, stuffing was one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides, so it was pretty easy for me to decide that’s what I was going to make for this episode. Now, I know the difference between stuffing and dressing is that stuffing is actually stuffed up the turkey, technically making this a dressing- but I don’t care. It’s stuffing for this purpose if I say it is! I was excited to make a fancier version of simple Thanksgiving stuffing, elevating it with pancetta and chestnuts.
I’ve never had chestnuts before, and I was worried about trying to find some in the summer. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you might remember me trying to find peaches for Sookie’s peach sauce in the middle of fall, squash blossoms in winter, or apple cider in March. While this project can sometimes make finding seasonal ingredients tricky in other parts of the year, it hasn’t completely stumped me yet! I found peeled and roasted chestnuts at Central Market, and we were good to go! I don’t think I’ll eat chestnuts by themselves (I tried it for the taste and bleck!), but they added a great taste and texture to the stuffing. It’s no secret that I love sage, I use it in as many recipes as I think it will work. So I was eager to add it to this stuffing. The flavor compliments the chestnuts really well.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a college counselor and the way Lorelai acts in this episode when she finds out that Rory applied to other colleges other than Harvard really grinds my gears, though it’s something that’s upset me long before I had this job. Most of the time, I can see Lorelai’s side, especially when it comes to her parents, but I will never understand her side in this conflict when she gets so mad that Rory applied to Yale. And more specifically, she gets mad at her parents over it when they didn’t even have anything to do with it. Sometimes, Lorelai’s stubbornness is just too much.
In better news from this episode, we have Lane and Dave’s first kiss. They really are one of my favorite couples on this show, and their first kiss is so perfect. Dave really knows how to please Mrs. Kim while not doing anything out of character. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I wish we could have seen how their relationship evolved over the rest of the show.
What I love about this episode is that we get to check in with the different storylines to see how they have progressed throughout the day. Kirk’s injuries by Cat Kirk become worse as the holiday progresses until he ends up needing to sleep in the Town Square. Sookie becomes drunk over the deep-fried turkey (and the deep-fried shoe) in one of my favorite Sookie moments. And, of course, Lane and Dave have their first kiss after he played his guitar for hours for her family. What is your favorite storyline from this episode?
Happy Cooking from the Hollow
If you missed what I made last episode, catch up here!