Preparation / Directions:
With a sharp knife, cut an incision through the shell of each chestnut. Place chestnuts on cookie sheet and bake at 450F for 10 minutes. Shell chestnuts.
In large saucepan, combine chestnuts, consommé, and water. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and let cool.
In mixing bowl, combine chestnuts, sausage meat, ground pork, salt, pepper, and brandy. Mix thoroughly.
Stuff bird with chestnut mixture. Sew up the opening. Cover breast of turkey with slices of salt pork. Cover with buttered wax paper. Place on rack in roasting pan. Pour 3 tablespoons water in pan. Roast at 450F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and continue roasting for 1 hour. Remove wax paper. Continue roasting for 30 minutes. Remove salt pork and continue roasting for 2 1/2 hours, or until well done, turning bird in order to brown all sides, and basting occasionally with fat from the pan. For the last half-hour, let bird stand breast-side up.
For gravy: Pour off excess fat from cooking liquid in pan. Add 1/4 cup boiling water and bringing to boil, scrape bottom of pan until all brown crust is entirely dissolved. Do not thicken. Correct seasoning.
Comments: It is true that there is no Thanksgiving in France, but there also, turkeys are the victims of a "sacrificial rite." Everybody who can afford it has turkey for the two "reveillons." "Reveillon de Noel" and "Reveillon du Jour de l'An" are the dinner-suppers served at midnight the 24th and the 31st of December.
In both celebrations, "Dinde aux marrons" (turkey stuffed with chestnuts) is the highlight of the dinner -- and justly so, Because even people who don't as a rule care much for turkey love it that way.
Served with "Braised Celery" (recipe included in this database) and accompanied by a great Bordeaux, it is truly magnificent.
Recipe Source: THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING by Fernande Garv