Life is full of many small mysteries, and at no time more so than during the holidays, when strange visitors are apt to wander down chimneys and candles perform miracles. As their gift to you, Traig & McGrath share this recipe for a mysteriously delicious holiday dish that can easily be prepared from items even a shut-in is sure to have on hand.

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Roasted Chestnut Stuffing
With Fennel and Goat Cheese

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1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup butter
1 pound cornbread (or reasonable substitute)
3 tablespoons fresh chopped fennel (or reasonable substitute)
1 cup roasted and shelled chestnuts (or reasonable substitute)
8 ounces goat cheese (or reasonable substitute)
¾ cup glazed pecans (or reasonable substitute)

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1. Sauté onions and celery in butter over low flame.

2. Now you’ll crumble the cornbread. A food processor makes the job easier, or you could just do what Peter did, and sit on it. If you don’t have cornbread, substitute johnnycake or brioche, or that bag of pita from the back of the freezer. Add to sautéed onions and celery.

3. It’s time to add the fennel. The Shut-Ins certainly would have, if they’d had any. Because they did not, Jenny gamely plucked a substitute out of the backyard. Its exact nature remains a mystery—the cousins are detectives, not botanists—but all parties agree it was probably cigarette butts.

4. Next you’ll add the roasted chestnuts. If you’re fresh out, you can substitute a near-homonym, like roasted chest hair.

5. Cube goat cheese and add to stuffing mixture. If your friends, like the Shut-Ins’, refuse to go out and pick up fresh cheese for you, substitute the ranch dressing you’ve been moist-aging in the refrigerator door. Shake dregs loose and add to stuffing.

6. For crunchier stuffing, stir in glazed pecans. Or just hold the toaster upside down over the stuffing for a touch of crunchy grab bag.

7. Place the mixture inside your roast or tofu log and bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Or, like the Shut-Ins themselves, you can just eat the whole thing out of the pan in your pajamas while watching TLC’s A Baby Story, then fall asleep on the couch, to dream of sugarplums, or a reasonable substitute.