Wow..where does the time go??? We think we have lots of time and then that clock just whizzes around and before we know it…Christmas is upon us…
To me, there is nothing nicer than seeing that stuffing oozing out of the turkey…
This month I have a few recipes for homemade stuffing for you it is very easy to make and makes much more than you get out of a box and no nasties…It freezes well so you can make it and pop it into the freezer all ready for Christmas day…
My thanks go to Esme for letting me loose on here with my recipes which have been very traditional so far… Not so after Christmas, I will be taking you on trips around the culinary world…
This first stuffing is not a traditional one as I used to know it..we always had sage and onion never anything else but since I discovered how easy stuffing is to make it has opened up a whole new world…
Rice, walnut and squash stuffing.
1 onion, finely chopped
The bottom half of 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
200g walnuts, chopped….I use walnuts as I can’t always get chestnuts but chestnuts can be used.
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sage leaves, chopped plus extra sage leaves, to serve
200g mixed wild and basmati rice
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
25g parmesan(optional) or a vegetarian alternative, grated
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Tip the onion, squash, and walnuts into a roasting tin with the oil, chopped sage, and seasoning, then toss well with your hands. Roast for 20 mins or until the edges of the squash start to tinge brown. If your oven is full, you can simply fry the lot together in a large frying pan.
Add the rice and stir to coat it, then tip the lot into a saucepan. Add the stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add cheese, if using, and tip into a baking dish. You can now cover and chill the stuffing for up to a day.
To finish, heat grill to high, then cook until the top is browned and crisp and the stuffing is hot through.
My next one is a mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.
25g pack dried porcini mushrooms
425ml hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g risotto rice
100ml white wine
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp shredded basil
4-6 tbsp grated parmesan
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Oil a non-stick 12-hole bun tin and line holes with two strips baking parchment, to form a cross. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Leave for 20 mins, then strain, reserve the stock and chop the mushrooms, if large.
Heat oil in a pan, add onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add the pine nuts and fry until lightly toasted. Add the garlic, rice and cook for 2 mins.
Tip in wine, let it bubble, then add the reserved stock, mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the rice is just cooked. Remove from heat and cool, then stir in the egg, basil, pepper, and salt, if using.
Fill the tins with stuffing, sprinkle over parmesan. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top. Cool in the tins, or for 5 mins if serving straight away. Remove by pulling up the parchment crosses.
You can make these up to two days ahead. Then reheat on an oiled baking sheet, at 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10 mins.
My next stuffing is a little more of a traditional stuffing and has my beloved herb sage…I love sage…this stuffing is our family favorite…I love rice and rice-based stuffings not so the menfolk in my house especially at Christmas so this one it is…
Sausage and Apple Stuffing
800 gm Cumberland Sausages removed from the skin.
10 rindless streaky bacon rashers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped (about 325g)
85g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to serve (optional)
1 large egg
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the celery and onion, and cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften.
Tip into a bowl to cool while you remove the sausage meat from the skins. Add the apple, sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg, and seasoning. Mix well – the easiest way is to knead it together in the bowl with your hands. I use about 1/4 of this mix to stuff the neck cavity of the turkey.
For the remainder, I line a 900g loaf tin with 8 rashers of streaky bacon, spoon in the stuffing, lift the bacon over and cover with the last 2 rashers. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and bake the stuffing for 40-50 mins.
It can be made ahead up to this point and chilled for 2-3 days.
Turn out onto a baking-parchment-lined baking tray and return to the oven (once the turkey has come out) at 220C/200C fan/gas 7 for 15-20 mins more to brown the bacon.
If chilled, reheat at the lower temperature for 45 mins, covered in foil, then turn out for the extra 15 mins at the higher temperature. Allow standing, then scatter with parsley (if you like), slice and serve.
Last but not least we have a stuffing with cranberries …Don’t we???
Bacon, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stuffing
2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
100g dried cranberries
50ml ruby port
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
140g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
140g peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 medium egg, beaten
Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.
Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind I find it easiest to use my hands so get those hands in and mix thoroughly.
Next, I do a little tester, in fact, I generally do that with all my stuffing as it is the only way to tell if the seasoning is correct.Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
This stuffing can be baked in a dish or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside.
Bake in a greased dish at 190C/gas 5/fan 170C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausagemeat stuffing, cooked right through.
Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.
These are lovely stuffing balls and probably my favorite at Christmas as I love cranberries…
That’s all for now until next month…I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Thank you again to Esme for letting me lose on her fantastic blog x
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