Fascinating Food - Christmas - The Stuffings

Fascinating Food – Cooking the Perfect Christmas Dinner – The Stuffing

A perfect Christmas Dinner is something which we all crave once a year. There are so many different elements to balance and when done correctly it fills our hearts with warmth and happiness and love.

A traditional Christmas dinner will include:

· Turkey with Gravy.

· Stuffing.

· Sauces.

· Roast Potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

· Festive Deserts.

In this article I will explore how to cook some different exciting Stuffing’s!


All about Stuffing

Stuffing is a magnificent concept. It’s the one dish of the whole Christmas meal where each and every chef can be unique. There is no right or wrong stuffing. A wide range of different flavours and characters can make a Christmas meal special and personal.

Stuffing has been around for many generations. The roman cookbook Apicius “De Re Coquinaria” includes recipes for stuffing; so we can be sure that the concept of stuffing has been going back at least sixteen hundred years. Originally the stuffing was made to make a roast meal go a little further, but today they are more for a unique flavour and twist to a meal.

As a dish it is incredibly simple to make, and very simple to twist to your liking. It’s a good dish to get the kids involved in too.

Whilst your turkey rests for 45 minutes after cooking it is a great time to pop the stuffing into the oven.

Sage and Onion stuffing

Ingredients:
Knob of butter
1 Large Onion, chopped finely
75g white Breadcrumbs
Small bunch of sage leaves chopped finely
Zest of ½ lemon (grated)
450g Port Sausage meat
Nutmeg to grate

1) Melt the butter in a pan over a slow heat.

2) Add the onions to soften them.

3) Add half the breadcrumbs

4) Fry until golden.

5) Tip into a bowl and add all remaining ingredients.

6) Grate some nutmeg and mix in, season with salt and pepper if you want.

7) Form into balls, and bake in a greased baking dish for 30minutes at 200c.

Eighteen Century Chestnut Stuffing

Ingredients:
¼ teaspoon of ground mace
1 Large onion, chopped finely
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
450g Peeled chestnuts, cooking and finely chopped
25g Butter
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
110g finely chopped Smoked streaky bacon
225g Pork Mince or Best Quality pork sausage meat
Salt and freshly milled pepper
Turkey Liver, chopped finely

1) Melt the butter in a pan over a slow heat.

2) Add the onions, bacon and Turkey Liver.

3) Fry until golden (around ten minutes).

4) Tip into a bowl and add all remaining ingredients.

5) Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

6) Form into balls, and bake in a greased baking dish for 30minutes at 200c.

American Turkey Stuffing

Ingredients:
½ teaspoon ground mace
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
450g thin pork sausages, skinned and sliced into small (1cm) chunks
Zest of lemon (grated)
1 beaten egg
50g butter
110g chopped walnuts
4 sticks celery, sliced into small (1cm) chunks
175g white bread, cut into small (1cm) chunks
225g Bramley Apples, cored and chopped
225g chopped onions
Salt and freshly milled pepper

1) Melt the butter in a pan over a slow heat.

2) Add the onions, celery and sausages.

3) Fry until golden (around ten minutes)

4) Tip into a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients.

5) Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

6) Form into balls, and bake in a greased baking dish for 30minutes at 200c.

Wild Mushroom and Rice Stuffing

Ingredients:
30g butter
15g dried porcini or cep mushrooms
175g mixed wild and brown Basmati rice (Brown Basmati rice will also suffice)
1 Tablespoon Swiss vegetable bouillon
50g Pine nuts
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
6 large Shallots, cut into thin wedges
140g chopped chestnut mushrooms
Zest of lemon (grated)
3 finely chopped large garlic cloves
1 handful of raisins
3 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 beaten egg

1) Puts the ceps in a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to soak for twenty minutes.

2) Rinse the rice, and then place in a saucepan. Add 260ml of boiling water and add the vegetable bouillon and let boil until the rice is tender and cooked.

3) Fry the pine nuts in a small frying pan until golden brown. Shaking the pan, and stirring will help avoid them burning. Chop half of them, leave the rest intact.

4) Heat the butter and oil and stir in the shallots. Fry until golden. Mix in the chestnut mushrooms and garlic. Fry for another few minutes.

5) Drain the rice, and stir in the mushroom mixture, lemon, raisins, rosemary, parsley, chopped pine nuts and the egg.

6) Drain the ceps and finely chop them. Add them into the rice.

7) Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

8) Add six tablespoons of the liquid you soaked the ceps in.

9) Mix the mixture thoroughly.

10) Spoon onto a baking tray and sprinkle the remaining pine nuts over.

11) Bake for around 20 – 30minutes at 190c.

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