On the off chance you have never peeled a chestnut — if somebody has peeled chestnuts for you, they love you very much — you stab a little X in the chestnuts’ flat bottoms, you stick them in the oven, and you must take them out to peel while they are hot enough to scorch your fingers or the tough inner skin never quite comes off quite right. The sharp, little edges of shell will prick you. You may have read a million tricks for peeling chestnuts more easily, but I can assure you that none of them works. And when you do finally pry a perfect, steamy, ivory-white chestnut whole from its prison, you end up chopping it anyway. It’s tragic, really; the holiday’s lash of atonement.
Peel the chestnuts: Heat oven to 450 degrees, cut a deep cross on the flat underside of each chestnut with a paring knife, and roast until the Xs begin to gape, about 15 minutes. Peel off the shells and the tough inner skins. (Chestnuts are easier to peel when they are burning hot; you may wish to roast them in batches.) Bring the stock to boil and simmer the chestnuts in the stock for 20 minutes. Drain chestnuts and reserve stock. Cool completely, then coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Squeeze the sausages from their casings and fry for five minutes. Stir in the chopped onions and celery, and cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in the white wine, raise the heat for a minute to reduce slightly, then lower heat to medium and cook for an additional five minutes.
In the biggest bowl you have, mix together the chopped chestnuts, the dried bread and the sausage-vegetable mixture. Dribble in some but probably not all of the reserved stock — you want the mixture to be moist but not soggy.
Stuff the bird, or smooth into a greased gratin dish, dot generously with butter, and bake at 350 degrees until crusty and brown, about 45 minutes.
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