Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Easy Christmas stuffing

So it's now 5 days until Christmas, how are you feeling? Have the children broken up from school yet? Or did they break up last week and have already declared themselves as bored? This post is a recipe - shocker I know, and also a way to get ahead ready for the weekend that family can help with - both Guides and Brownies (so 7-14) really enjoy the ickiness of helping out with this. One more thing to tick off that to do list.

Stuffing. I love it, it's not a roast without it - which is how Mark feels about Yorkshire puddings. My lovely sister (the gorgeous one in the picture up top) is half of the inspiration for this recipe. Last Christmas she made a fruited stuffing from scratch and I really enjoyed it. She won't be with us this Christmas as she's at her inlaws, but when I pop this in the oven I'll be thinking of her.

However this version is becoming known as Division Commissioner stuffing. And to explain that I have to tell you a little story. Two years ago I applied for my Guide holiday licence, prepped a GFI Glamorama themed holiday and worked incredibly hard to make it a success. Alison, our Division Commissioner was our QM - who saw I had bought a leading brand of dried stuffing and promptly declared "we won't be using that!" At this point she knocked up stuffing for 20 people using 'stuff' lying around the Guide kitchen. I was slightly gobsmacked to say the least. And it was yummy, much wetter than packet stuffing ever is. Fast forward 2 years and the older guides in a much bigger Guide unit wanted to know if we were having Alison's stuffing? So I picked up the phone and got the recipe. Well I say recipe, it's more of a guideline.

Now for Guides I made this vegetarian, leaving out the sausage meat, however for Christmas in our house it is firmly carnivourous, and I used skinned lincolnshire sausagemeat to increase the herbed flavours, if you like  it peppery try cumberland, and if you prefer a simple flavour then any good pork sausagemeat will be great. I get mine from the butchers around the corner, as they make their own sausages and the quality is immense. If I were using one from a Supermarket it would be a Sainsbury's TTD as they are amazing quality (and gluten free)

I should say, that this is a really easy recipe for children to help with. Use the food processor if you're not happy letting them loose with knives. I would use the food processor with my Brownies, but with supervision my Guides are fine with knives. Make sure their hands are clean and get them to smush up the sausagemeat.

Division Commissioner's Stuffing (this quantity serves about 8, it doubles or even triples beautifully)

2 onions, blitzed in the food processor
25g butter
1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and diced (I confess, I blitzed it with the onions)
800g Lincolnshire sausages, skinned and smushed up
Handful of sage leaves, chopped up
4-6 slices of stale brown/ wholemeal/ granary bread, crusts cut up and blitzed into breadcrumbs

Fry the onion in the melted butter until it starts to soften
Add the apple and cook for a little while longer
Leave the pan on one side to cool down (it need to be easily handle-able)
Mix with the remaining ingredients and seasoning - do this with clean hands in a big bowl
Make into balls and put on a buttered baking tray, and cook for about half an hour

If I'm doing this at home I then pack it into a foil lined 1kg loaf tin and freeze it until it's needed.
Take it out of the freezer on Christmas eve, and when defrosted, cook as above but for about 40 minutes.

If you want a veggie version, add extra apple and onion and breadcrumbs to make up the weight.

This is what we're having on Christmas Day with our turkey. Just think if you make it today (you could easily sub the apples for eating apples and use any sausagemeat you have in the house), freeze it you don't need to even think about it again until Saturday evening.

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