Chestnut and herb stuffing

Is it too soon to be thinking of Christmas? It’s hardly past Halloween and Bonfire night but if you are like me and make your food for Christmas then perhaps we do need to start. I love chestnuts, and they are suitable for the Low FODMAP diet. Although I have used bacon and butter – with a small change to these ingredients the recipe and removing the bacon, the recipe can also be made suitable for vegans, plus it is rich enough to form the centre dish for a vegan Christmas.
As I was writing this recipe it reminded me of the song ‘Are you going to Scarborough fair – parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme’ I had inadvertently used this reverent combination in the recipe. I love this song; it’s a traditional ballad, a melancholy tale of loss and the impossible demands of love steeped in the legend of herbs anthropomorphic emotional properties. Being a scientist at heart, I don’t generally ascribe to flowers or herbs changing someone’s emotions however I am, I think, also a romantic too to some extent – so I can recognise and appreciate the sentimentality of the song. Can you be both? I think so.
This stuffing is not necessarily a healthy recipe, but Christmas is a time where a treat is allowed, it is a time to cook for friends and relatives and flavour is essential.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tin (200g) of chestnut puree
  • 10 Walnuts
  • 3 Sprigs thyme
  • 130g Grated celeriac
  • 100g Gluten-free bread
  • 1 Sprig of rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons of parsley
  • 20g Sage
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 90g Streaky dry cure bacon
  • 100g cooked whole chestnuts
  • 40g butter
  • Seasoning

Method

  • Grate the celeriac
  • Chop the walnuts, whole chestnuts and herbs
  • Grate the lemon rind
  • Using a loaf tin lined with butter and the bacon rind – allow the rashers to drape over the edge – long enough so the slices can be folded back over the loaf when the tin is full.
  • Warm the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the celeriac, fry for five minutes then add the chestnut puree. Add the chopped nuts, herbs lemon rind and seasoning and mix well till combined.
  • When combined spoon the mix into the loaf tin till full, then fold over the rest of the bacon rashers to cover the top of the loaf.
  • Place the loaf tin in a tray of water to prevent the sides from burning and cook on the central shelf for 10 minutes.
  • Serves 6-8.