Even in my meat-eating days, my favourite part of a holiday dinner was the stuffing. Just smelling sage and rosemary still takes my mind back to childhood holidays.
Since I wasn’t having any sort of dinner gathering this holiday, I decided to have just stuffing as dinner. With just a few tweaks to my mother’s original recipe, I created this dish which is crunchy, savoury, and full of contrasting textures thanks to the chestnuts, lentils and toasty bread. It can still be served as a luscious side in lieu of potatoes or other starches, or it can be eaten as a main course in its own right with lots of colourful veggies.
The dish is easy and only takes two days to make. Kidding!!! You do need stale bread but if you don’t have two days to let your bread get stale, you can toast it.
Let’s get started.
12-14 oz loaf of stale (or toasted) bread – white or whole grain – cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks of celery sliced
1 onion diced
1 cup vegetable broth
100 grams roasted, chopped chestnuts (about 9-11 chestnuts)
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup cooked lentils (about ½ a can if you’re using canned).
1/2 cup margarine
3 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp dried sage
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste (I use about ½ tsp)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a very large pot combine the margarine, onion and celery. Heat on a medium-high heat and sauté until the onion just starts to soften. Add the poultry seasoning, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Turn off the heat. Add the bread, chestnuts, walnuts and lentils and mix with the margarine-onion-herb mixture to coat all the bread. Pour in the broth and stir again to moisten the bread (the bread will not be wetted through).
Spoon this mixture into a 9”x9” baking pan and pat it down so it’s compressed and firm.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. You want some crunchy crust to form on the top.
Serve immediately with colourful veggies and vegan gravy.
This savoury bread pudding will keep covered in the fridge for 3 days.