To dry out the challah and corn bread cubes (making it easier for them to absorb liquid and seasoning), we spread them on a rimmed baking sheet, left to dry overnight in an oven that was cooling from previous use.
VARIATIONS: When you mound the broth-moistened mixture on a baking sheet, you’ll get some stuffing that’s crisped on top and moist underneath. When you spread the mixture evenly on the sheet, the texture will be more evenly firm and dry.
MAKE AHEAD: Dry out the cubes of challah and corn bread by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and leaving them to air-dry for a day or so, or bake in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and let them cool in there.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 3 ribs celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 7 ounces vacuum-packed shelled, roasted chestnuts, cut or broken into chunks
- 8 ounces challah bread (half a store-bought loaf), cut into 1-inch cubes and air-dried (see headnote)
- One 8-inch square corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and dried (see headnote; we baked from a box of Jiffy brand Corn Muffin Mix)
- 2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled between your fingers
- 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large Bartlett pear, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (not peeled)
- 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries, some coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup packed chopped curly parsley
- 1 3⁄4 cups vegetable broth, preferably no-salt-added, or more as needed
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Position racks in the upper and lower parts of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Have one or two rimmed baking sheets at hand.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, stir in the celery and chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the dried cubes of challah and corn bread. Season with the sage, herbes de Provence, paprika and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, tossing to coat evenly. The mixture should be fragrant.
Transfer to a bowl; add the pear, dried cranberries, parsley and broth, stirring to coat evenly. Add more broth if the mixture seems quite dry. For a moister stuffing, mound all the mixture on a single pan, gently pressing it together. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, portioned or cut into small pieces. For a drier stuffing, divide the mixture between two baking sheets, and then dot with the remaining butter.
Roast (upper rack for single pan; upper and lower racks for 2 pans) for about 25 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If you are using two baking sheets, you may want to rotate the from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.
Transfer to a serving bowl; serve warm, drizzled with some oil.
Inspired by a Julia Turshen recipe.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to email@example.com.
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Calories: 420; Total Fat: 17 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 45 mg; Sodium: 430 mg; Carbohydrates: 60 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 17 g; Protein: 7 g.