Still looking for an elegant stuffing to impress your guests on Thanksgiving? Here are two recipes from two winery chefs – one in Napa, and one in Sonoma – that go above and beyond.

The first recipe is from Jeff Mosher, chef at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. If you don’t have duck fat, you can substitute chicken fat or bacon fat.

Chestnut and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

 Makes 8 servings

 ½ loaf pain de mie, or other white bread, unsliced

 1 each medium sweet yellow onion, cut into small dice

 4 each celery ribs, cut into small dice

 6 each garlic cloves, minced

 ½ cup bacon lardons (made from applewood smoked bacon)

 2 cups peeled chestnuts

 3 cups assorted wild mushrooms, cut into 2-inch pieces

 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

 1 cup duck fat

 2 cups chicken stock

 Salt and pepper to taste


 Trim the crust off the bread and slice into 1-inch cubes. Toss with ¼ cup of the duck fat, season with salt and pepper and toast in 350 degree oven for 7 minutes.

Saute, on medium heat, the onions, celery, and bacon lardons in 1 tablespoon of the duck fat. Once the bacon begins to color, add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes. In a separate pan, using 1 tablespoon of duck fat, saute the mushrooms on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

Cut the chestnuts in half and toss in ¼ cup of duck fat, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until they achieve a nice golden brown color.

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the marjoram, as much of the remaining duck fat as you wish, and the chicken stock. Stir all the ingredients together, and check the seasoning.

If stuffing a bird, omit the chicken stock and stuff the bird. If making separately, place the stuffing into an ovenproof pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes right before serving.


This recipe is from executive chef Justin Wangler of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates.


 Butternut Squash  and Wild Rice Dressing

 Makes 8 servings

 2 tablespoons butter

 2 shallots, minced

 1 cup fresh cranberries

 2 cups chicken stock

 ½ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed

 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

 1½ pounds butternut squash (½-inch dice)

 1 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced

 1 medium onion, finely chopped

 3 celery stalks, chopped

 Freshly ground black pepper

 1½ cups half & half or light cream

 8 large eggs

 1½ cups turkey or chicken stock

 ¾ cup dried cranberries

 1 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped fine

 8 cups sourdough bread cubes


In a Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add fresh cranberries and cook for 1 minute more. Add 2 cups chicken stock, rice and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Drain.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add remaining butter, squash and thyme. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add onion and celery. Cook and stir for 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the half & half, eggs and 1½ cups stock. Stir in cooked rice, squash, dried cranberries, sage and bread cubes. Transfer to a shallow, 3-quart casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more or until golden brown.