Sunday 17 December 2017

Stuff of kings

Andrew Rudd rustles up a seasonal selection of mouth-watering stuffings

Mixed Herb & Toasted Pine Nut Stuffing
Mixed Herb & Toasted Pine Nut Stuffing

Andrew Rudd

Mixed Herb & Toasted Pine Nut Stuffing

This is a variation on my Mum Prue's stuffing. She has been making it for years and it never fails to impress. Use the mixture to stuff the neck end of the turkey before cooking. Serves 5.

YOU WILL NEED

150g butter

2 red onions, peeled and finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

150g fresh cranberries

400g breadcrumbs

100g pine nuts

Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

Lightly saute the onion and garlic in the butter. Soften, do not brown. Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs, lemon zest, cranberries and breadcrumbs.

Cook the breadcrumb mixture at a moderate temperature for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, dry-fry the pine nuts for 1 minute at a high heat to lightly brown. Combine the breadcrumb mixture with the pine nuts.

Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing

Use the mixture to stuff the neck end of the turkey before cooking. You can also roll any leftovers into golfball-sized pieces. Lightly fry them in butter or sunflower oil before finishing in the oven.

Alternatively, pack the mixture into a 1kg loaf tin lined with parchment. Bake for 50 minutes at 165°C and let cool. This can be done a day before Christmas. You can also add 150g of chopped pork liver to the mix before cooking.

Serves 5.

YOU WILL NEED

100g butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed with a pestle and mortar

2 tsps mixed spice

200g breadcrumbs (optional gluten-free)

150g dried cranberries

1kg of pork mince

2 eggs, lightly beaten

METHOD

Lightly saute the onion and garlic in butter. Soften, do not brown. Season with salt and pepper and add oregano, sage, cumin seeds, mixed spice, breadcrumbs and cranberries.

Cook at a moderate temperature for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. When cooled, combine the pork mince, eggs, and sauteed ingredients.

Arancini Risotto Balls

Arancini are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs. They are the most popular canape I serve. I was hosting an Italian cookery evening recently and mentioned to guests the dish originated in Italy. At that point, an indignant lady said it was from Sicily and dated back to the 10th century. Note to self: never confuse geography when dealing with Italians.

Makes 14 large balls or 24 small.

YOU WILL NEED

For the risotto

100g butter

400g Arborio risotto rice

200ml white wine

1 and a half litres vegetable or chicken stock

2 shallots, finely diced

60g fresh cranberries

2 tbsps fresh thyme, finely chopped

Salt and pepper for seasoning

80g white cheddar cheese (or Parmesan)

For the balls

2 eggs, lightly beaten

250g breadcrumbs

2 litres vegetable/sunflower oil for deep frying

METHOD

Melt 40g of the butter in large saucepan on a medium heat. Add risotto and mix to ensure rice grains are coated with the butter. Add the wine, then add 100ml of the stock.

As the rice absorbs the stock, add another 100ml of the stock. Continue until the rice is almost cooked – this should take 15 to 20 minutes – then remove from the heat.

Add 20g of the butter to a separate frying pan. Saute the shallots, cranberries and thyme on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and mix with rice.

Place the mixture back on a medium heat and cook for five minutes or until the rice is done. Add the cheese and remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Take off heat and allow to cool, preferably overnight.

When cool, shape tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls. Dip in the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs.

Place on a tray or plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 140°C. Heat oil in a large saucepan (or deep fryer) over medium heat.

Cook balls in batches for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to kitchen paper to absorb oil and then move to a wire rack. Place in oven to keep warm. They can stand on a wire rack at room temperature for 3 hours. Reheat by placing in a 160°C oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Couscous Stuffing

This is a healthy alternative. You can have it as a side order with your Christmas dinner as the flavours compliment the condiments. If so, remove the eggs as they are there to bind the stuffing.

Serves 5.

YOU WILL NEED

1 litre chicken stock, boiling hot

800g couscous

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

80g butter

100g carrots, finely diced

1 onion, finely diced

2 lemons, juice only

100g dried apricots, finely diced

150g fresh cranberries

2 tbsps chopped parsley, mint and coriander

2 eggs, lightly beaten

METHOD

Pour the boiling stock into the couscous and season with the salt and pepper. Add 50g of butter and mix well.

Leave couscous in a warm place for 15 minutes until liquid has absorbed. Stir occasionally.

Cook the carrots in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Lightly saute the onion in 30g of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the lemon juice, apricots, cranberries and carrots. Mix well. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in the chopped herbs. Combine all the ingredients, including the lightly beaten egg mixture.

Use the mixture to stuff the neck end of the turkey before cooking.

Luxury Nut & Seed Loaf with Sweet Chilli Jam

Serves 8

YOU WILL NEED

225g bulgur wheat

330ml vegetable stock (2 x cubes are fine)

3 tbsps soya sauce

75g pistachio nuts

175g pine nuts

225g blanched almonds

175g cashew nuts

10g hazelnuts

110g sunflower seeds

110g poppy seeds

Generous handful parsley, finely chopped

Generous handful thyme, finely chopped

250g onion, finely chopped

4 x large free range eggs, lightly whisked

60g Parmesan cheese

50ml olive oil

A little oil for pouring on roast

METHOD

Place bulgur wheat in a mixing bowl and pour in the boiling stock and soya sauce. Cover and let swell for 25 minutes. Mix all nuts and seeds together with the wheat. Stir in the parsley, thyme, onions, eggs, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Mix well and allow to stand

Oil two bread loaf tins and line the base with greaseproof paper. Fill with the mixture. Pour on a little oil, sprinkle with some nuts (optional) and cap loosely with a foil hood. Bake in oven 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for 40 minutes. Ideally bake in a bain-marie or steam oven for added moisture.

Take off hood, baste with oil on baking sheet and bake everything for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then remove from the loaf tin. Using a pastry cutter, cut it into squares or circles.

Irish Independent

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