Take some of the work out of the holidays with meals and bites that can be prepared before the big day
Hello and welcome to all about food. It’s time to get organised!
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?
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 – I realised early on that such preparation is vital.
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.
If, like me, you plan to make your stuffing in advance, simply wrap the uncooked stuffing and freeze. Take the stuffing out on Christmas Eve morning and fully defrost in the fridge. Cook on Christmas morning as per above.
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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