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Corn Bread and Chestnut Stuffing

At the time of year seemingly dedicated to stuffing things, including ourselves, this flavorful stuffing is my go-to recipe when I am making a Thanksgiving feast. Our table is graced with lots of veggies and a huge winter squash, abundantly filled with this savory cornbread-based stuffing.

Ingredients
Corn bread:

1 1/2 cups corn meal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
3-4 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup spring or filtered water or rice milk

Stuffing:

1 loaf sourdough bread-crusts removed and cubed
Corn bread-cubed
1 pound fresh chestnuts
Spring or filtered water
1 cup firm tofu-cut into tiny cubes and deep-fried until golden
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch dried rosemary
Small handful fresh flat leaf parsley-minced
2 cups Vegetable Stock (see below)
Soy sauce

Vegetable Stock:

1 onion, cut lengthwise into thin slices
Several green onions or a small leek, cleaned and diced
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Sea salt

8 or 9 cups spring or filtered water

1 or 2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup diced button mushrooms, brushed clean and left whole
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 fresh parsley sprigs
Fresh or dried basil or rosemary

Directions 
Vegetable Stock:

Add onions, garlic, salt and about 1/2 cup of the water to a soup pot over low heat. Simmer about 15 minutes. Add the remaining water and other ingredients and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, about 1 hour. Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as you can from the vegetables before discarding them. Makes about 6 cups.

Prepare the corn bread by sifting together the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the rice syrup, oil and water. Fold wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed. Do not over mix or bread will be tough and heavy. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil and flour a 9-inch square baking dish. Spoon batter evenly into pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the top of the bread springs back to the touch. Invert on a wire rack and allow to cool before proceeding.

Note that this step can be done ahead of time.

To prepare stuffing, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread cubes of bread and corn bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes to dry. Set aside.

Make a small slit in the flat side of each chestnut and place in a saucepan with water to cover. Simmer over medium heat until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from heat and taking 2-3 chestnuts at a time, peel off shells and skin. Set aside. Heat oil in a skillet and saute onions and rosemary, with a splash of soy sauce. Add celery, a splash of soy sauce and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Season lightly with soy sauce and remove from heat. Stir in chestnuts and fried tofu cubes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add bread and corn bread and mix well, slowly adding stock until stuffing forms a soft ball. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Allow to cool completely before stuffing squash. 



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