Chestnut Stuffing with Fennel

stuffing dish

Celebrate the holidays with a delightful twist on a classic dish by preparing Chestnut Stuffing with Fennel. This festive stuffing mixes the somewhat sweet, fragrant tones of fennel with the rich, nutty flavor of chestnuts. With each delectable bite, this Fennel-Stuffed Chestnut Stuffing will become a treasured addition to your holiday spread, encapsulating the spirit of the season.


  • 1 1/2 pounds country bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/8 inch thick and diced
  • 1 small rosemary sprig
  • 1 dried chile de árbol or other dried red chile, stemmed and broken in half
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 10-ounce vacuum-packed jar of chestnuts, very coarsely crumbled
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Spread the bread in a single layer and toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown. Let the croutons cool, then transfer to a bowl. Leave the oven on.
  2. In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder; coarsely grind.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over high heat, stirring, until crisp, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to moderate, add the rosemary and chile and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, fennel, fennel seeds and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes; discard the rosemary and chile. Stir in the lemon zest and add to the croutons.
  4. Set the skillet over high heat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour the hot stock mixture over the croutons and toss well.
  5. Wipe out the skillet. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter and the chestnuts and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts to the stuffing, season with salt and pepper and let cool completely. Add the eggs and parsley and toss well.
  6. Transfer the stuffing to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and dot the stuffing with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until crisp on top. Serve hot.

Commercial Food Equipment Recommended

Begin by using an industrial-grade food processor to finely chop a medley of aromatic ingredients.  The sturdy motor maintains consistency and improves the quality of the stuffing. Use a large, heavy-duty skillet to sauté the vegetable combination on an industrial stove with multiple burners. Meanwhile, a convection oven provides an even bake for the chestnuts, resulting in a flavorful, nutty texture. When the stuffing mixture is finally transferred to a commercial baking dish, a top-notch convection oven will take care of the rest and produce a golden-brown, incredibly fragrant Chestnut Stuffing with Fennel that will undoubtedly be the centerpiece of any holiday feast.

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