What's the story with stuffing? A history of the Christmas dinner side dish

Plus, a classic chestnut stuffing recipe by Chef Louis Bayla

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Stuffing is a perennial holiday favorite. But what are the origins of this seasonal staple? As it turns out, the cherished side dish actually dates back to the first century AD in recorded history, and may have been cooked up even before recipes were written down, per Arcadia Publishing.

In modern times, stuffing (also known as "dressing") graced Thanksgiving menus in America in the form of stuffed turkeys and hams in the 1800s. It’s believed that as celebrating an annual Thanksgiving became more common, that serving stuffing at the holiday table became a more omnipresent feature of the gathering. 

As for when it morphed from a filling for meat to a side dish, serving stuffing as its own casserole is a popular way to present the medley of bread, onion, fresh herbs, broth and other additions like spices, broth and butter.

PATSY’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT’S CROWN ROAST OF PORK FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER

Classic Chestnut Stuffing by Chef Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain and Cane (Credit Grain and Cane)

Classic Chestnut Stuffing by Chef Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain and Cane (Credit Grain and Cane)

As stove top stuffing launched in the 1970s, it may have become increasingly popular to serve stuffing as a side dish thanks to its ease of preparation versus baking it inside your bird. 

Beyond serving stuffing as a side dish or cooking it in with an entrée meat, the possibilities are endless. Some like to bake stuffing in muffin tins and serve them as appetizers, sometimes with a dollop of mashed potatoes serving as the "icing." Other ideas for stuffing include serving it atop leftover sandwiches, using it inside baked peppers, adding stuffing to bulk up your favorite meatball recipe, and even serving it atop pizza or in stromboli. Stuffing brunch casserole with baked eggs, anyone?

THIS SPINACH-PARMESAN CASSEROLE WILL BE ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TABLE IN 20 MINUTES

By the numbers, stuffing remains quite popular. Datassential, a food data insights firm that tracks flavor and menu trends, recently found through its research that 66% of Americans like stuffing, and it’s offered on the menu at 4.2% of U.S. restaurants. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER 

Ready to get to cooking? Below, an easy recipe for old-fashioned stuffing, made with roasted chestnuts, fresh herbs and more delicious ingredients from Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain & Cane, based in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.

Classic Chestnut Stuffing by Chef Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain and Cane (Credit Grain and Cane)

Classic Chestnut Stuffing by Chef Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain and Cane (Credit Grain and Cane)

"This is a take on my grandmother’s recipe, she always used roasted chestnuts in her stuffing. As a tradition, I include them whenever I make stuffing for my family or at the restaurant. They add a nutty sweetness and unique texture to this delicious side dish," Bayla told Fox News. "You can roast and shell the chestnuts yourself (which can be done a day or two ahead) or you can find them at your grocery store, canned or in the frozen section, already roasted and shelled."

Classic Chestnut Stuffing by Chef Louis Bayla, Executive Chef Grain & Cane

Makes 6-8 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40-55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb. croutons, homemade preferred

¼ cup butter

 1 large onion, diced fine

 3 stalks of Celery, diced fine

1 tbsp. sage, chopped

½ tbsp. thyme, chopped

½ tbsp. rosemary, chopped

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Poultry seasoning

4 cups of chicken or turkey stock, hot

2 eggs, beaten

Parsley, chopped

 Celery leaf, chopped (use only the lighter leaves)

Roasted chestnuts, chopped (optional)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F

2. In a large pot, melt butter. Add the onions and celery and cook gently over medium-low heat.

3. When soft, add sage, thyme, and rosemary and cook for an additional minute.

4. Add croutons and chestnuts (optional), mix well.

5. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to taste.

6. Add hot stock, mix well.

7. Add eggs, parsley, and celery leaf, mix well.

8. Place in greased baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake 30-40 minutes.

9. Remove the foil and allow the top to get golden for another 10-15 minutes.

10. Serve and enjoy! 

This original recipe is owned by Chef Louis Bayla of Grain and Cane and was shared with Fox News.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS