This Roasted Chestnut and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing is bursting with robust flavors! Rich from the chestnuts, salty from the sausage, sweet and buttery from the cornbread, and herbaceous from the trio of herbs! This stuffing is a million times better than the pre-prepared mix and so easy to make!
Toast cornbread: Spread cubed cornbread out evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden and lightly toasted, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray an 8x11’’ baking dish. Set aside.
Meanwhile, toast chestnuts: Melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until chestnuts are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chestnuts to a large bowl. Wipe out the pan with paper towels.
Sauté vegetables and sausage: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the sausage and season again with salt and pepper. Cook, using the back of a wooden to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Cook until the sausage begins to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the thyme, parsley and rosemary. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup of stock. Transfer to large bowl with chestnuts.
Whisk eggs with stock and add to stuffing mixture: In a measuring cup, add 1 cup of chicken stock and eggs. Whisk until combined. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture. Add the toasted cornbread. Gently fold everything until evenly combined, taking care not to mash the cornbread. (The mixture should look wet. If you like your stuffing really wet, add another ¼- ½ cup of stock.)
Bake: Transfer the mixture to a prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil (SEE NOTES IF MAKING IN ADVANCE). Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove stuffing from oven, uncover and brush with melted butter. Continue to bake, UNCOVERED, for 20-30 minutes or until the stuffing is hot and the top is golden and crisped.
Serve: Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and enjoy!
You can roast your own chestnuts or purchase roasted and peeled chestnuts. If roasting chestnuts yourself, skip step 4 (toasting chestnuts). To Roast Chestnuts: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut an ‘X’ into the round end of each chestnut. Place scored chestnuts on a rimmed sheet pan. Place sheet pan in the oven and add ¼ cup of water to the pan. Roast for 10 minutes or until shells easily peel back where you scored an ‘X’ into chestnuts. (Keep an eye on chestnuts to avoid burning them!) Remove chestnuts from the oven and let cool slightly 1-2 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Peel chestnuts
You can use any sausage you prefer. I like to use sage flavored ground breakfast sausage. If you use sausage in casing, remove the sausage from the casing before proceeding with the recipe.
To make chestnut dressing in advance, assemble the stuffing as directed in the recipe. Tightly cover the unbaked stuffing with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove the stuffing from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to remove the chill. Bake as instructed in the recipe - please note, you may need to cook the stuffing for a little bit longer since you will be be starting with a cold dish.
Stuffing can be frozen for up to 1 month. (Be sure to use a freezer-safe, air-tight container).