Greek Castana (Chestnut) Dressing
Restaurateur John Vergos, Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous
John’s father may be known for his world-famous ribs, but his mother, Tasia Vergos, is also a wonderful cook. Her traditional Greek dishes are beloved by her family and friends. One of John’s favorite family holiday dishes is his mother’s turkey dressing. “It is made with chestnuts and ground beef — and it’s absolutely wonderful,” explains John of this traditional Greek recipe.
- 3 sticks butter
- 4 pounds ground chuck
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ pound chestnuts, boiled, peeled and cut in small pieces
- 1 pound pecans, chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- Ground cinnamon, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 loaf Vienna bread, sliced and toasted
- 1 quart milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 1½ -quart casserole dishes.
- Melt 1½ sticks butter in a large pot. Add the meat and keep stirring until browned.
- In a separate pan or large skillet, melt the remaining 1½ sticks butter. Add the onions and brown. Add the cooked onions to the meat.
- Add the parsley, celery and broth and cook until the celery is done.
- Add the raisins, chestnuts and pecans. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste.
- When the meat is well cooked, remove from the heat and cool.
- In a separate bowl, break up toasted bread and add milk. When it is soaked thoroughly, add to the meat mixture.
- When mixture is completely cool, add the eggs.
- Place the mixture into the prepared casserole dishes and bake for 1 hour.
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