A Conversation for Planning and Preparing a Christmas Meal

Stuffing!

Post 1

Mu Beta

Supermarket-bought stuffings, as a rule, suck. Make your own; it can be made a day in advance, kept in the fridge, and then shoved in the turkey (if you like your stuffing cooked separately, place in the oven for 15 minutes to brown on top). Serves 4:

1) Finely chop a large onion, and sautee in half butter/half olive oil until it softens, but doesn't brown.

2) Add a clove of crushed garlic, and a handful of finely chopped sage (dried is fine). Fry for another 30 seconds.

3) Add 6oz of breadcrumbs (approximately 8 slices without crusts). Stir rapidly until the crumbs have soaked up the juices. Add more butter or oil if needed.

4) Beat two medium eggs, add them to the mixture. Stir over a heat briefly, and then compact the stuffing into a flat dish until needed.

This recipe is of course hugely flexible, and can be varied according to how ambitious you are. Dried apricots are a good adddition to stuffing, as are fresh grapes, halved and de-seeded. Sun dried tomato and basil is an excellent combination, although probably too delicate for stuffing your bird (turkey, not wife/girlfriend) with.

And, if you _must_ use packet stuffing, don't just mkae it up with water, but use a good knob of butter as well.

B


Stuffing!

Post 2

kelli - ran 2 miles a day for 2012, aiming for the same for 2013

Is there any way of obtaining breadcrumbs if you don't have one of those whizzy machines?

Only way Ihave found so far is to leave a hunk of bread out to go stale and hard then grate it - this is not the best though, especially if you don't plan well enough in advance...


Stuffing!

Post 3

kelli - ran 2 miles a day for 2012, aiming for the same for 2013

Chopped chestnuts are a good addition to christmas stuffing.


Stuffing!

Post 4

Mu Beta

Not for me - I'm allergic to them.smiley - tongueout

Re: breadcrumbs. It depends how good your chopping technique is, and how sharp your knife is. It's quite easy to chopp breadcrumbs (use the same 'rolling' technique you [should]do for herbs).

Failing that - the 'whizzy things' are only about £25.

B


Stuffing!

Post 5

kelli - ran 2 miles a day for 2012, aiming for the same for 2013

And the extension to the kitchen so that we'd have somewhere to keep it would be several thousand quid...

Wouldn't that take forever though, to get enough bread?

I have a mezza luna for herbs, it's fab - I may give it a go for breadcrumb making (or just buy M&S chestnut stuffing as usual smiley - winkeye).

You don't have to add a knob of butter to make powdered stuffing edible - it is much better to add some of the fat from the turkey (if you make the stuffing separately like we always do).

I'm using too many brackets today.


Stuffing!

Post 6

Post Team

If all else fails, you can always use a grater to make breadcrumbs. Wait until the bread is a few days old and watch your fingernails! smiley - winkeye

There's a recipe for chestnut stuffing and sage and onion stuffing here:
A666641 smiley - ok

shazz smiley - thepost


Stuffing!

Post 7

Shhhhhh........due to circumstances and stuff - I think I'm back now! and a bit of front :-)

If you need to harden up the white bread, in order to grate it properly - whack it in the oven for 10 minutes or so - Not too long though, as that will cook the bread more and you won't get the right texture for the stuffing.

Oh - and remember to turn the oven ON !

smiley - winkeye


Stuffing!

Post 8

RabidRobbie

You can make breadcrumbs from fresh bread, if forced to do so, by picking at it with your fingers. It's a bit slow, but you can do it while watching your favourite soap or whatever - no need to be tied to the kitchen sink. Don't be tempted to roll it between your fingers, because that will make it go all doughy and solid. The pieces don't have to be that small - you are not trying to make sand, but a light, fluffy mound that is broken down enough to mix with the other ingredients. That way you will get a stuffing which has all the flavour but is not too heavy.


Stuffing!

Post 9

RabidRobbie

There's another kind of stuffing that you can experiment with - or rather a different place to put it. It is possible to put a mixture between the skin over the breast and the breast itself. Once you start lifting the skin, you will find that there is a natural pocket there. Don't cut the skin or tear it - just gently insert your fingers. With a little care, you will find that you can go down past the breast and onto the thighs. A filling placed in this cavity will infuse the breast meat and help keep it moist. Once you've discovered this "subcutaneous" method of stuffing, it opens a world of possibilities. A basic mixture would be finely chopped mushrooms and garlic plus any other herbs or spices you like mixed with butter. The idea is to make something fairly loose and a bit sloppy. And don't try to cram too much in. You can make an interesting effect by leaving the mushrooms whole, sans stalks, and distributing them around inside the cavity. It does make the bird look rather as if it has died of some plague, but they flatten out during cooking, add flavour to the meat and look quite novel when carved. You will need to protect the breast when using this kind of stuffing. I weave a cover of streaky bacon for it and remove this near the end of the cooking process. The bacon can be served as a side dish and is delicious when cold.


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