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…
I have a few recipes ( 6) 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…
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.
- The bottom half of 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 200 gm walnuts, chopped….I use walnuts as I can’t always get chestnuts but chestnuts can be used
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 sage leaves, chopped plus extra sage leaves, to serve
- 200g mixed wild and basmati rice
- 500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 25 gm parmesan(optional) or a vegetarian alternative, grated
Heat oven to 200 C /180 C 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.
Date and bacon stuffing.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
- 1 tbsp snipped fresh thyme
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups dry cubes sourdough bread
- 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth
In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.
In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.
You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.
To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.
This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.
You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.
My stuffing is a mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.
- 25 gm pack dried porcini mushrooms
- 425 ml hot vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g risotto rice
- 100 ml white wine
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp shredded basil
- 4-6 tbsp grated parmesan
Heat oven to 200 C/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 200 C/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 favourite…I love rice and rice-based stuffings not so the menfolk in my house especially at Christmas so this one it is…
Pork, Sage and Onion 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 325 gm)
- 85 gm 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, sausage meat, 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 900 gm 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/160 C 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 220 C/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.
Next one of my favourite Christmas fruits a stuffing made with cranberries …
Bacon, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stuffing
- 2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
- 450 gm sausage meat
- 100 gm dried cranberries
- 50 ml ruby port
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 50 gm butter
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 140 gm fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 140 gm 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.
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 190 C/gas 5/fan 170 C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausage meat 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 favourite at Christmas as I love cranberries…
Water Chestnut and Bacon Stuffing.
- 3/4 to 1 pound of bacon, diced
- 1 stick of butter
- 3 to 4 stalks celery, diced (about a 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large onion or 2 small, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 8 oz pack of mushrooms, diced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1 can of whole water chestnuts, roughly chopped, optional…I am lucky I can get fresh water chestnuts.
- 12 oz breadcrumbs
- Poultry seasoning to taste (recipe to make your own here)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Any of your favourite herbs or seasoning: additional thyme, rosemary, sage or 1/2 a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, etc.
- Chicken stock to moisten (2 to 2 1/2 cups)
In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp, remove and put to one side. Discard all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of drippings. Add butter and stir till melted. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms & garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.
Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, the reserved bacon and water chestnuts, if using. Toss together and add chicken broth to moisten. Taste for seasoning & add in salt, pepper and additional desired herbs.
This is best left overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Check for the desired amount of moistness and add additional broth, if needed, before baking. Stuffing should not be wet.
Bake in a buttered casserole, covered, at 325 to 350 degrees for about an hour, uncover and continue to bake until top is a little crispy and crunchy, an additional 15 minutes or so.
Next, I always 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.
Pigs in Blankets:
- 8 thin slices smoked bacon
- 16 cocktail sausages
- I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp clear honey.
Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.
To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof paper then remove from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below
Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.
Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.
Christmas dinner without bread sauce to me is like bread with no butter…Gin and tonic with no Gin…I know many people have an allergy to gluten…This recipe is especially for you…Using celeriac instead of the traditional bread it is a lovely alternative a bit smoother than bread sauce but a great accompaniment to your Christmas meal…
Gluten-Free Bread Sauce…
- 600ml of milk
- 2 bay leaves, torn several times
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves
- 1 garlic clove, bashed with the back of a knife to squash but keep intact
- 700g of celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
- 25g of butter
- white pepper
Peel the onion and stud with the cloves. Place the single garlic clove, studded onion and torn bay leaves into a medium-sized pan with the 600ml of milk and bring slowly to the boil to infuse while you prepare the celeriac.
In a medium-sized pan melt the butter. Then add the celeriac and stir to coat in the butter. Strain the infused milk over the celeriac and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Do not worry if the milk splits.
Season with salt and white pepper. Once the celeriac is tender, blend in the liquidiser and keep warm…White pepper is used to give an aesthetically pleasing appearance black pepper is fine if this isn’t your concern.
Now for my original Bread Sauce recipe…
Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use( I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…
About half loaf of Stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.
- I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
- 2 bay leaves.
- Salt & Pepper.
- About half-pint milk.
Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.
- 3 cups or 12 oz of cranberries.
- The juice of 2 large Oranges.
- A cup of sugar.
- 1 stick of cinnamon.
Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.
Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.
When I was a child the only time we had dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetizers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.
I hope you have enjoyed these recipes please let me know your favourite if you try any…Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week xx
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great festive weekend with as little stress as possible…Merry Christmas one and all xx