Bacon, chestnut and cranberry stuffing

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Bacon, chestnut and cranberry stuffing
Bacon, chestnut and cranberry stuffing
Servings:Serves 10 - Makes 20 stuffing balls
Calories per serving:222
Ready in:2 hours 30 minutes
Prep. time:1 hour 45 minutes
Cook time:45 minutes
Difficulty:Difficult
Recipe author:Chef
First published:17th January 2013
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Bacon, chestnut and cranberry stuffing balls, ready to bake or freeze
The ingredients for Bacon, chestnut and cranberry stuffing

This stuffing recipe is fairly involved, but worth making for special occasions such as Christmas dinner.

Don't use this to stuff the turkey, but serve as an accompaniment, either as balls or baked in one tray.

Ingredients

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  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 50ml ruby port
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 rashers bacon , chopped (rind removed and discarded)
  • 50g butter
  • 3 Cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 450g sausagemeat
  • 140g dried breadcrumbs *see Chef's notes
  • I eventually used breadcrumbs from 3 fresh bread rolls, more than 140g, but that was the weight fresh, not dried.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 140g cooked chestnuts (about 200g / 20 raw chestnuts to allow for peeling and waste), peeled and chopped - don't forget to peel and pick out all of the bitter brown skin.

To bind

  • 1 egg, beaten

Mise en place

  • Chop the cranberries and soak in the port for at least 1 hour
  • Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F - gas 5), [fan oven 170° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour]

Method

  1. Gently fry the onion garlic and bacon in the butter for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool, then using your (clean) hands mix with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Once well mixed, add the egg and mix in well. This helps the stuffing to bind together properly.
  • either:
  1. Roll into 20 balls and bake alongside your roast - make them even nicer by rolling in melted butter first.
  2. 35 minutes is all they need when cooked as balls.
  • or:
  1. Butter a small oven dish and pack the stuffing into the dish (about 5cm thick)
  2. 40 to 45 minutes should be enough when coked in a tray

Serving suggestions

These also make nice nibbles served cold!

Chef's notes

Make them before the event and freeze them (uncooked).

Defrost properly on the day you want to use them.

Breadcrumbs: If you have a food-processor you can make fresh breadcrumbs really quickly. Just tear up a few slices of good quality fresh bread, place in a food processor with a metal blade and pulse a few times until they look right. I find that fresh bread is far better than stale bread for this.

Roasting the chestnuts: Cut a slit in the chestnuts so they don't pop and grill for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning now and then. Allow to cool then peel and chop.

Variations

Port: If you don't have port to hand, use a combination of sherry, wine or even a dash of rum or brandy.

Use a mixture of dried fruit with the cranberries - finely chopped apricots work well.

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