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Holiday Dressing (California Dried Plum & Chestnut)

For a classic dressing with a nontraditional twist, dried plums add a touch of moisture and a hint of sweetness to holiday meals.
Prep Time  20 minutes Cook Time  50 minutes Serves  25

Ingredients

 3 1/8            pounds  multi-grain bread -- rustic multigrain bread

 12 1/2            tablespoons  butter or vegetable oil

 3 1/8            cups  celery -- diced

 3 1/8            cups  onion -- diced

 3 1/8            tablespoons  fennel seed -- crushed

 6 1/4            cups  California Dried Plums -- pitted and chopped

 4 1/8            cups  chestnuts -- coarsely chopped and cooked*

 1 1/2            cups  parsley -- chopped

 3 1/8            teaspoons  salt

    3/4            teaspoon  black pepper

 12 1/2            cups  turkey or fat-free low sodium chicken broth

 6 1/4            each  eggs – optional


Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Cut crust from bread and discard. Cut bread into large pieces; pulse in food processor to coarse crumbs. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add celery, onions and fennel seed. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. In large bowl, combine bread crumbs, vegetables, dried plums, chestnuts, parsley, salt and pepper. Add broth and mix gently but thoroughly. (If using eggs, whisk with broth before adding to rest of ingredients.) Transfer to a shallow oven-proof baking dish; cover loosely with buttered sheet of foil, buttered side down. Bake 30 minutes; remove foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes more or until top is browned.

*Cooked chestnuts are available canned, bottled or vacuum-packed. Be sure to purchase unsweetened chestnuts.


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