Chestnut Burrs are simply balls of stuffing wrapped in a ground meat mixture and baked in gravy. Named Chestnut Burrs because once baked, they often burst open to reveal the stuffing inside – much like a roasted chestnut. They’re old-fashioned deliciousness.
Some may call this dish Depression Era food and that’s very true; it’s been hearty dinnertime fare in my family for generations. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover stuffing. (An even bigger plus for those of us that can’t seem to cook for less than a house full of people…)
A very flexible recipe …
Use what is convenient for you!
- Meats: ground beef, venison, lamb or turkey
- Stuffing: use leftover from a holiday dinner, make some up fresh or just a box mix
- Gravy: use my recipe here, eliminate mushrooms, change broths, OR use a ready-made jar of gravy, OR a can of Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup mixed with water
- Change ingredient amounts to suit the number of people you’re feeding
Making Chestnut Burrs
Mix together the ground beef mixture and let it sit while you prepare the gravy.
Start the gravy by sautéing onion, garlic and mushrooms, then stir in some flour to make a bit of a roux for thickening. Whisk in some broth, seasonings and wine and let it simmer until thickened while you form the Chestnut Burrs.
Forming the meat and stuffing
Roll and press the stuffing into 5 balls about 2″ in diameter. This amount of stuffing and size works well with one pound of ground meat; adjust to fit your needs. You can make as many Chestnut Burrs as you like, large or small.
Divide the ground meat mixture into 5 equal portions. Forming one at a time, roll each portion of meat into a cohesive ball, then flatten it in your hand into a very thin patty about 4-5″ across.
Place a stuffing ball in the center and form the meat around it. Seal up your Chestnut Burr well and check for cracks.
As they are made, lay them in a greased casserole dish. Pour the gravy over the top.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes until cooked through.
What to serve with Chestnut Burrs
- My Classic Creamy Coleslaw
- A salad of greens and grapefruit made with my Fresh Grapefruit Vinaigrette
- If you’re not watching carbs, mashed potatoes or my Perfect Rice Pilaf
Give a nod to your grandma and treat yourself to this simple comfort food.
Chestnut Burrs (stuffing stuffed meatballs) with Mushroom Gravy
- 2-3 cups prepared bread stuffing leftover stuffing or fresh made or a package mix, cooked not dry
Ground Meat Mixture
- 1 lb ground beef, venison, lamb or turkey
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth or chicken broth if using ground turkey
- ¼ cup red wine, optional or white wine with ground turkey OR substitute with broth
- ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, well crushed
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a casserole dish.
Ground Meat Mixture
- Place ground meat in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Clean hands are perfect for this job. Set meat mixture aside for a little while.
- Heat a 3 quart saucepan or large skillet. Add in the butter or oil and chopped onion. Sauté the onion until it's softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms into the onion and cook for approximately 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the garlic.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top of the mushrooms and stir thoroughly until no visible clumps of flour remain. Pour in about half of the broth, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the rest of the broth and the wine.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and quickly bring up to a boil, then turn down to a light simmer. Cook with a light bubble for about 20 minutes until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Forming Chestnut Burrs
- While sauce is simmering, form stuffing into balls. Using about 1/2 cup stuffing for each, press and roll with your hands into firm spheres about 2" across. Lay them on a plate or your cutting board. You'll need 5 stuffing balls for 1 lb. of ground meat.
- Divide your ground meat mixture into 5 equal portion by simply patting the meat into a flat round right in the bowl and cutting it like a pie, just eyeballing it.
- Working with one of the portions at a time, roll it into a cohesive ball in your hand then flatten it into a very thin patty about 4-5" across. Place a stuffing ball in the center and form the meat patty up around it. Seal up the seam and any cracks or thin spots. Lay them in the casserole dish as completed.
- Pour your gravy over the top of the Chestnut Burrs and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes until cooked through and bubbly.
Thank you so much for this recipe. I belong to a chestnut co-op in Michigan and we have recipes on our website, but we don’t have a version like this. Let me know if you’d like to have our Facebook page give a reference to you and your recipe here. Thank you.
Yes, butter can be used, but it yields a different texture.
Soooooo good!!! Such an amazing way to use up thanksgiving leftovers! This recipe will definitely become a regular in my house. Everyone loved it!!
Hi Margaret and thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed them. 🙂
Omg I’ve been looking for an actual recipe for these for years!!!! My mother is Dutch and her grandmother made these it’s been in my family for years and I’m so glad someone finally posted a recipe! Thanks for my walk down memory lane!
Hi Abby! I’m so glad to help you with a yummy memory. Old fashioned comfort food at its best. If you make them, report back and let me know how you like it!