CHESTNUT AND SAUSAGE STUFFING
Upper Crusts: Fabulous Ways To Use Bread
I need a recipe as a starting point, unlike my friend Ellen Coopersmith (a fabulous cook whom I admire because she never measures anything). So it took her about fifteen years to write down the recipe for this marvelous stuffing for me! Be forewarned—it is rich, lavish, and decadent, and not for the faint-of-heart. This is the recipe exactly as Ellen gave it to me.
Throw Out the Turkey—Keep the Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing!
For an 18- to 20-pound turkey
• 1/2 pound margarine
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 16 ounces ground sausage (she uses half mild and half hot)
• 6 chicken livers, finely chopped
• 3/4 cup Madeira (Ellen loves the Barbeito Rainwater Madeira) or more for moistening
• 4 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix
• 1 or 2 cans whole chestnuts, pureed (15 ounces each)
• Cream substitute or turkey stock as needed to moisten, or more Madeira (Ellen uses all Madeira since she likes the richness of the wine flavor)
Heat half the margarine in a large skillet, and saute the onions until wilted.
Add the sausage meat and cook until lightly browned, using a fork to break up the meat.
Drain cooked onions and sausage in a colander or sieve and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the rest of the margarine, heat, then add the finely chopped livers.
Saute until well done. Add the Madeira and boil down the liquid until it is almost gone.
Scrape the livers and all the pan drippings into a very large mixing bowl.
Add the onions and sausage and the stuffing mix.
Puree the chestnuts in the blender or food processor, and add to the mixing bowl with the stuffing.
Mix well and moisten the stuffing with the cream substitute, stock, or more Madeira to taste.
Refrigerate, covered, until ready to stuff the turkey. If there is any extra stuffing that doesn't fit in the turkey, place it in a lightly greased covered casserole, moisten it a little more, and bake it at 350°F for an hour).