Feel like your Christmas dinner is missing that special element or lacking inspiration for how to set your roast apart? Creating your own stuffing that’s a little different from the classics can really make all the difference. Whether you’re roasting a whole grouse or just rolling and stuffing a turkey breast, some richly flavoured ingredients either stuffed inside your Christmas meat or baked and served alongside it is the perfect way to put your own stamp on the traditional meal.
The most common stuffing at Christmas is sage and onion, but there are so many more flavour combinations that can have a profound effect on the overall feel and flavour of your dinner. It’s a dangerous time to experiment, however – you don’t want to run the risk of serving a stuffing that doesn’t work or simply overpowers everything else on the plate. That’s why we’ve collected some recipes and ideas from the UK’s best chefs, so you can cook with confidence and bring something different to the table.
For a stuffing that sticks to traditional flavours, Martin Wishart’s Chestnut and pear stuffing is different from the norm and works particularly well in fatty birds such as goose and duck, thanks to the high fruit content; similarly, Dominic Chapman makes a simple Apricot stuffing for his turkey. Galton Blackiston combines pork belly, fennel, mushrooms, cranberries, cognac and more to create a festive stuffing for partridge, while Bruno Loubet’s Festive quails are stuffed with long grain rice, pancetta and chicken livers.
Worried about what you can do with the leftovers? Don’t be. Alyn Williams serves Fried stuffing balls as a side, which can be made the next day using any sort of leftover stuffing, or you could try these Pork and cranberry stuffing burgers, shaping your stuffing into patties and serving it as a sandwich.
If you’re looking for something a little less rigid than a recipe and just want a few ideas for flavour combinations, then keep reading. We asked eleven of our chefs what stuffing they’ll be serving at home on Christmas Day this year.