Knocking Out The Stuffing

With less than a month to go until the big day …. it’s time to get cooking for Christmas! Why is it we always seem to rush like crazy just before, yet we know all year the day is coming. This year I am making sure everything is done well ahead of schedule, so I can enjoy the festivities to the full.
Asked the other day how to make stuffing I replied it’s easy just mix together breadcrumbs, melted butter, onions and herbs in whatever combination you like. But I can’t think said my friend so below are just four of my suggestions. Personally, I wouldn’t serve less than three varieties as it is arguably the best part of the entire festive meal.

You can see I have used foil containers – make life easy use them to freeze the stuffing in advance and then simply defrost and roast in the same dish then discard afterwards in the recycle bin.

Buy a plain loaf of bread a day or so before to make the breadcrumbs. Remove the crusts, tear into chunks and place in the food processor, then whizz until the crumbs are formed. Prepare all the breadcrumbs you need at the same time. Make sure one of the stuffings is sausage meat based instead of breadcrumbs (as below) as this is needed to fill the turkey (or any other poultry) as it will keep the bird moist whilst cooking. If making more than one variety chop all the onions needed in the food processor and fry together first, then divide into bowls to add further ingredients or continue to fry in a small pan with the other ingredients depending on the recipe.

 

stuff sausage.jpg

Sausage & Chestnut

1 onion, peeled

25g butter

6 rashes of streaky bacon

75g turkey or chicken liver, cleaned of membranes

125g pork sausage meat

360g chestnuts, finely chopped

45ml (3Tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

5ml (1tsp) dried thyme

1.25ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method: 

  1. Finely chop the onion, ideally in a food processor. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion. Fry until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the bacon and turkey/chicken liver in the food processor and then add this to the frying pan and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  3. In a bowl mix together, the remaining ingredients then add the onion/meat mix. Stir well to combine.
  4. Either freezer immediately and thaw before cooking or use this stuffing to loosely fill the cavity of the poultry you intend to roast, alternatively place in a small roasting tin and roast separately for 45 minutes at 180°C.

 

 

stuff mush.jpg

Porcini, Portobello & Pancetta

20g dried porcini mushrooms

1 onion, peeled

25g butter

30ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil

100g pancetta, cubed

150g fresh portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

45ml (3 Tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

5ml (1tsp) dried oregano

125g fresh breadcrumbs

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method: 

  1. Place the dried porcini in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, ideally in a food processor. Melt the butter in a large frying pan with the oil and add the onion. Fry until soft.
  3. Add the pancetta cubes and continue to fry for a further 3 minutes.
  4. Drain the porcini mushrooms, discarding the water and finely chop. Add these to the pancetta along with the finely chopped portobello mushrooms and garlic. Fry for another 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir well to combine.
  6. Either freezer immediately and thaw before cooking or place in a small roasting tin and roast uncovered for 30 minutes at 180°C.

 

stuff lemon.jpg

Lemon & Thyme

1 onion, peeled

40g butter

15ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil

125g fresh breadcrumbs

45ml (3Tbsp) fresh thyme, chopped

5ml (1tsp) dried thyme

15ml (1 Tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

Zest of 2 lemons & juice of 1 lemon

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method: 

  1. Finely chop the onion, ideally in a food processor. Melt the butter in a large frying pan with the oil and add the onion. Fry until soft.
  2. Remove from the heat and the remaining ingredients to the pan. Stir well to combine.
  3. Either freezer immediately and thaw before cooking or place in a small roasting tin and roast uncovered for 30 minutes at 180°C.

 

stuff apricot.jpg

Apricot, Pumpkin Seed & Sage

1 onion, chopped

25g butter

30ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil

125g fresh breadcrumbs

100g dried apricots, chopped

10ml (2 tsp) dried sage

30g pumpkin seeds

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method: 

  1. Finely chop the onion, ideally in a food processor. Melt the butter in a large frying pan with the oil and add the onion. Fry until soft.
  2. Remove from the heat and the remaining ingredients to the pan. Stir well to combine.
  3. Either freezer immediately and thaw before cooking or place in a small roasting tin and roast uncovered for 30 minutes at 180°C.

 

 

 

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