First, the difference between Stuffing and Dressing: Stuffing goes inside the bird, Dressing is made outside of the bird.
This recipe is a variation on Learn, Cook, Eat's Pumpernickel, Apple, and Leek Dressing. I tried that at an event last year, loved it, and had every intention of recreating it at home. At the time though, I was (ok, still am) on a big Greek yogurt kick and had just learned how to roast chestnuts. Looking for an excuse to combine the two, I modified the recipe and Chestnut, Leek, and Pear Dressing was created.
This dish is savory, full of texture, has a bit of a bite thanks to the yogurt, but is tempered by the sweetness of the pears. Step by step photos are below, followed by the full recipe...
You'll need multigrain bread, leeks, Greek yogurt, butter, chestnuts, and pears (I recommend three pears...two is not enough).
Step 1: Cube the bread. I find that multigrain works best with this recipe, although you could use wheat bread, too. The grains give a nice texture and flavor. Toast the cubes in a baking pan while you start step 2...
Step 2: Roast Chestnuts. Cut an X in the flat side of each chestnut. This prevents them from exploding in your oven.
I wonder what that would sound like?
Let's not find out. Cut the X.
Step 3: When the chestnuts are done, start peeling them immediately! They'll be hot, but a hot chestnut is easier to peel than a cold one. Once all the chestnuts are peeled, chop them into small pieces.
I suppose you could skip all this and just use chestnuts in a jar. I've never had them, but from what I understand, they taste just the same.
By now the bread cubes are sufficiently toasted. Take them out and transfer to a big mixing bowl. Add the chestnut pieces.
Step 4a: Trim both ends off the leeks. When buying leeks, select ones with a large white area, as that's the part that you'll use (a little bit of the light green is ok, too)
Step 4b: split the leeks, and wash them. I usually discard the outermost layer.
Step 4c: Chop into 1" sections.
Step 5: Melt butter in a heavy pan, and add the leeks. Mmm...I just love the smell of sauteing vegetables!
Step 6: While the leeks are sauteing, dice the pears. When the leeks are done, transfer them to the same bowl as the bread cubes and chestnuts.
Step 7: ...and saute the pears. You might need (want?) to add more butter.
Step 8: Add the pears to the Big Bowl. Add Greek yogurt and mix thoroughly. Do not try to do this in your baking dish. Someone may have tried that the first time she attempted this recipe, and ended up with a mess... :)
Step 9: Transfer to your baking dish, and send it into the oven!
Done and delicious!
Chestnut, Leek, and Pear Dressing
Loaf of multigrain bread, cut into cubes
3 leeks, ends removed and cut into 1" sections
25 roasted chestnuts, chopped
3 pears, diced
3 TBS unsalted butter
1.5 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used a 2% fat version)
Preheat oven to 400F. Spread bread cubes on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add chestnut pieces.
Melt 2 TBS butter in medium-hot skillet, and add leeks. Cover, and stir occasionally, cooking for 10 minutes or until softened. Remove from pan and transfer to the bowl.
Add 1 TBS butter to same skillet. Cook pears until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
Add Greek yogurt gradually to the mixture in the bowl, stirring until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer mixture to baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes.