Break out of the mold for Christmas dinner this year

Take it up a notch this Christmas with this lovely sausage & nut stuffing
Hello and welcome to all about food. It’s time to get organised!

Hello and welcome to all about food. It’s time to get organised!

Ask gingergirl

Hello gingergirl,

This is my second year preparing Christmas dinner and I am keen to make it even better than last year! I have already cooked and frozen your spiced red cabbage recipe and am now thinking about the stuffing. Do you have any recipe suggestions?

Many thanks,

Mary, Annacotty

Hello Mary,

I have a feeling you are taking all this preparation in your stride, and quite rightly so! It’s great that you are removing a lot of unnecessary stress by doing what you can in advance of the big day. Coming from a family of eleven children – who still get together for Christmas day with partners and grandchildren - such preparation is vital. This morning, for example, my mum was telling me that she had eight pounds of stuffing cooling ready to be wrapped and frozen!

This stuffing recipe is a firm favourite in our home but do feel free to play about with it – see variations below.

Sausage & nut stuffing

2 tablespoons of olive oil

25g of butter

1 large onion, diced

2 teaspoons of dried parsley

200g of breadcrumbs

450g of good quality sausage meat

2 apples, peeled and grated

100g of walnuts, roughly chopped

A handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped.

The zest and juice of a large orange

1 large egg, beaten

Lightly grease a 2lb/1kg loaf tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200ºc. In a heavy based pan heat the oil and butter and gently fry the onion for five minutes without colouring. Tip into a large bowl and add the breadcrumbs, parsley, sausagemeat, apples, walnuts, orange juice and zest and sage. Add lots of pepper, a little salt and mix together with your hands. Add the egg and until fully combined.

Fill the loaf tin with the stuffing mix, pressing it firmly into the tin. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts and fresh sage leaves and press down gently.

Set the tin on a baking sheet to catch any juices that escape, then bake for 40-45 mins until the top is golden. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then remove onto a serving plate and slice before serving.

Recipe variation

Stuffing is another recipe that I enjoy experimenting with. Replace the walnuts with pine nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts or pecans. For a fruity flavour try dried cranberries, dried apricots or lemon zest. Sage and parsley are classic herbs to use in stuffing but don’t forget that rosemary, thyme, tarragon and bay leaves also work well too. For added spice try a little all spice, ginger, toasted fennel seeds or nutmeg.

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Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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