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Chestnut, Bacon and Apple Stuffing

* here’s a pic of it prepped and ready for the freezer ahead of Christmas day

About:
Take your Christmas stuffing to the next level with the addition of home-roasted chestnuts. This lovely recipe is quick and easy to prepare and even suitable for freezing- get ahead for the big day by making a tray of this and simply defrost in the fridge the night before and cook as directed.

Recipe by the wonderful Alice Birch @aliceinfoodyland

Ingredients:
30g butter
2 onions - finely chopped
6 rashers of ‘Farm and Fell’ streaky bacon- roughly chopped
Small bunch of sage and 4 rosemary sprigs - sage leaves picked and torn (leave 4 whole for garnishing at the end), rosemary finely chopped
600g chestnuts (600g is the weight pre roasting and shelling, once shelled, you need roughly 300g)
100g fresh breadcrumbs left to stale for a few hours on the countertop - made from Bakery Lamour Stoneground Wheat Sourdough
1 large apple (eating or Granny Smith)- unpeeled and grated
Zest of 1 lemon
Good grating of fresh nutmeg
200g Cumberland sausages - squeezed out of their skins

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan and get out a 30cmx10cm baking dish.
  • Start with the chestnuts- lay them on their flat side and carefully make a crossways incision on the top (making sure not to pierce the flesh). Place in the roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until fragrant and the skins split. Leave to cool for 10 mins or so then, whilst still warm, remove the shells and roughly chop
  • For the stuffing, melt the butter in a pan and fry the onions and bacon over a medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is soft, and the bacon starts to colour and crisp up. Add the torn sage leaves and the rosemary, season well with salt and pepper, grate in the nutmeg and add the lemon zest. Leave to cool
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl soak the breadcrumbs in 100ml of water for a few minutes, until the water is all absorbed.
  • To the breadcrumbs, add the cooled onion and bacon mix, the chestnuts, apple, and sausage meat and scrunch with your fingers to ensure well incorporated. Beat with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes to incorporate some air, this will help prevent a stodgy stuffing.
  • Grease the baking dish you roasted the chestnuts in and spoon the stuffing in (do not pat down- just let it fall in clumps into the dish). Garnish with any sage leaves you have left, poking them into any holes, and cook at 180 degrees fan for about 40 minutes until crispy on top.

Notes:

  • Stuff leftover stuffing into a buttered toasted ciabatta spread with cranberry sauce & a quick wholegrain honey mustard mayonnaise (whisk 100g of mayonnaise with 35g wholegrain mustard, ½ tsp honey, squeeze of honey and good pinch of salt)
  • I always cook my stuffing in a separate roasting tin as opposed to stuffing my turkey with it. You get lots of beautiful crispy bits and it doesn’t lengthen the turkey’s cooking time!
  • Use any leftovers of this lovely sourdough to make your bread sauce!