Whether you find yourself hosting a Thanksgiving feast, bearing potluck dishes as a guest, or enjoying an indulgent meal at home, you can elevate your Thanksgiving with a touch of French elegance. In the words of Frederic Barnier, technical director of Maison Louis Jadot, one of the most trusted wine houses in Burgundy, “Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, but don’t be shy about taking a cue from French recipes and dining style.” We agree. One simple, fragrant recipe that Barnier recommends is French Chestnut Stuffing paired with Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages and Chablis.
French Chestnut Stuffing
- 6 cups torn small pieces of baguette
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 cup fresh chestnuts, shelled and peeled, chopped coarsely, or 2 cups vacuum-packed or jarred whole chestnuts, chopped coarsely
- 7 ounces cubed lardons (pork fat), fried until crispy
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 3.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- With a sharp knife, cut a slit on the round side of each chestnut or pierce with a fork.
- Spread chestnuts in one layer on an oven tray and bake at around 400 degrees F until skins break open, usually in about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chestnuts a handful at a time. Shell and peel while still hot.
- In a shallow baking pan, arrange the bread pieces in one layer. Bake in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until golden, and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a large pan, fry the lardons until crispy, then remove.
- In the same large pan, melt butter and cook onions, celery, sage, and thyme over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onions are soft.
- Add chestnuts to the large pan mixture and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the chestnut and vegetable mixture to the bread pieces in the large bowl and toss the mixture well. Stir in the parsley.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and let the stuffing cool completely.
Remember that setting as much as flavor can elevate your feast. Use seasonal fall flowers and fresh sprigs of herb to lend your table a festive, elegant vibe.
This year, offer your guests something special. Look to French food and wine and infuse traditional Thanksgiving dishes with sophisticated flavors.