Salads and Sides

Michael Bonacini's Prune and Chestnut Stuffing

Chef Michael Bonacini provides a delicious stuffing for your holiday bird.


3/4 cup bacon, diced
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 cups store-bought peeled chestnuts
Zest of one lemon
5-6 cups day-old bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 cups prunes, pitted, cut into quarters
1 cup port (small amount for stuffing, reserve remaining for use in gravy)
1 cup chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Prep Time: 15
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Makes: Stuffing for a 12- to 15-lb turkey


Soak the prunes in a bowl of water for 1 hour.

In a frying pan, cook the diced bacon until golden brown and crisp.  Remove bacon from pan and put aside.

Bing the same pan back up to medium heat. Add the butter and gently cook the onions, garlic, and celery for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the chopped thyme, sage, and parsley. Add the chestnuts and grated lemon zest. Then, add the diced bread, followed by the prunes and a small amount of the port. Add enough chicken stock to moisten and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff into cavity of turkey and cook as usual.

Michael’s Suggestion: For a bit of variety, I sometimes add two cups of fully cooked wild rice and a handful of sour cherries to the above recipe.