Apple and Dates Stuffing

The Twelve Recipes of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…three French hens…

which would all benefit from being stuffed!

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Stuffing can be anything you have to hand – that’s edible, of course!

This recipe started out as a chestnut stuffing one and quickly became an apple and dates stuffing, instead.

Ingredients

150g wholemeal bread (approximately 3 slices), made into breadcrumbs (either by rubbing the bread against a grater or popping it into a food processor and blitzing it )

1 red onion (or white, whichever your preference is)

1 eating apple, washed and grated

7 dried dates, chopped

1 egg, beaten

Sprinkling of mixed herbs OR 1 tsp of thyme

Method

  • Put all the ingredients except the egg into a basin and mix together.IMG_3311
  • Make a well in to the centre of the ingredients and add the beaten egg. Now, mix into the other ingredients.
  • Don’t make the stuffing too wet or too dry; if too wet it will be stodgy and if too dry it will be crumbly and difficult to handle.
  • You are now ready to stuff the turkey. It’s easiest to stuff by turning the turkey to lie on it’s front, so enabling you easy access to the neck area. Put the stuffing in the neck end ONLY as it might not cook sufficiently in the body cavity.IMG_3314

Dawn: Don’t add the egg until you are ready to stuff the turkey. This prevents bacteria penetrating the stuffing which may not reach a sufficiently high temperature during the cooking to kill it off so DON’T add the egg until you are ready to cook the turkey.

Andrew: A chicken or turkey will benefit from being stuffed as the stuffing will help keep the meat moist as it cooks. It simply helps prevent the meat from drying out too much during the long cooking time.

Dawn: Absolutely, and some recipes will use sausage meat in the stuffing.

Andrew: Yes, this is true. The egg will offer sufficient moisture for a turkey up to to about 6-7kg in weight.

Dawn: Additional moisture can come from smearing the turkey with butter by rubbing it into it’s skin.

Andrew: And then by criss-crossing streaky bacon strips across it. The bacon will release it’s juices as it cooks and these will seep into the turkey meat.

Dawn: Voila! A simple stuffing recipe that can be made by everyone. A recipe that can be adapted to what you may have in the kitchen cupboards: from traditional sage and onion stuffing, through to chestnut and bacon stuffing, or apricots, cranberries and walnuts stuffing…the possibilities are endless.

Whatever combination you opt for, enjoy your festive selection! Merry Christmas season, everyone!

For more in this series of festively inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

 

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How to Make Sage and Onion Stuffing

Stuffings, also known as forcemeats, fillings and sometimes also referred to as farces, can be used in a number of ways. They can help keep meats which can be traditionally ‘dry’ food moist during the cooking process or help absorb some of the natural oils and juices found in some meat, or they can help increase a meal size which has small amounts of meat in it to a meal portion at little additional cost.

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Ingredients

Makes enough to stuff one medium size chicken

50g butter

1 medium size onion, peeled, sliced and diced

3 slices of wholemeal bread, made into breadcrumbs

2 tsp sage (dried or fresh)

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Method

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the onion and sage cooking for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs.
  • Add the beaten egg and mix the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.

Dawn: Warm water can be added in place of a beaten egg and works as well to bind the mixture together to allow it to be handled when you come to stuffing poultry and/or meat. Don’t add the liquid until you are ready to use the stuffing. Don’t put the stuffing into poultry or meat until you are ready to cook it as bacteria could penetrate the stuffing which might not reach a sufficiently high temperature during cooking to kill them. 

It’s also a good way of using up bread that is 2-3 days old and a blender is a very quick way of turning the slices of bread into breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a blender, a cheese grater works just as well in making breadcrumbs, too.

There are also other options that can be used instead of bread and they can include rice, suet or sausage. I tend to shy away from suet because it’s pure fat.

And when cooking poultry or meat that is stuffed, calculate the cooking time based upon its total weight. 

For more easy-to-follow and easy-to-make recipes and food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!