This Christmas Stuffing is not only delicious, but it is one of many shortcuts I take to insure that Christmas dinner is stress-free as well as gorgeous. The key is that this is one dish that I make ahead of time, freeze and thaw on Christmas Eve. Then I just stick it in the oven when the turkey comes out to rest. No big deal!
Christmas dinner can be a seriously stressful undertaking if you attempt to make everything fresh that day, not to mention piles of work when you aught to be with the family, having an earlier-than-normal drink or watching kids open Santa-presents. So I make this stuffing, the Christmas gravy and my Italian potato gratin ahead and freeze them. This can be done weeks in advance if you’re organised. It’s probably best too if it’s done before the last week before the big day as you will have enough to do with buying and wrapping presents and going to Christmas parties.
The stuffing itself is filled with Christmassy flavours like orange, nutmeg and pancetta and everyone will love it! I choose to cook the stuffing outside the bird as it saves time and it is flavoursome enough without it.
- 300 g white breadcrumbs
- 1 stick of celery
- 2 green apples, peeled and cored
- 2 onions, peeled and halved
- 440 g smoken pancetta, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- a quarter of a nutmeg, finely grated, or 1 generous pinch of powdered nutmeg
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- finely grated zest of half an orange
- 2 eggs, beaten
- In a food processor, blitz up the celery, apples and onions until they are a fine paste.
- In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and the butter until it foams.
- Add the pancetta and fry until crisp. This should take about 10 minutes or longer if the pancetta was packed with water.
- Add the celery, onion and apple followed by the thyme and mix it in.
- Add the nutmeg, pepper and orange, mix it up and allow to cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs. Allow to come down to room temperature.
- Grease a standard 2 lb loaf tin with the remaining tbsp of olive oil and set aside.
- Once the stuffing has cooled, mix in the beaten egg and transfer the mixture to the tin.
- Now freeze until Christmas Eve and thaw over night and roast for an hour at 200 degrees Celsius.