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The stuff of legends: Christmas stuffing ideas and inspiration

The stuff of legends: Christmas stuffing ideas and inspiration

by Great British Chefs 17 December 2015

Some of our chefs share their recipes, ideas and flavour combinations for festive stuffing, and tell us what they'll be serving up on 25 December.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

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.

The chefs

Will Holland

Fancy an Italian twist? Will combines roast butternut squash, sage and grated Parmesan with crushed amaretti biscuits instead of breadcrumbs, resulting in a beautiful contrast between sweet and savoury. One thing’s for sure – chestnuts are an incredibly popular choice.

Adam Simmonds

 
 

Adam usually flavours his stuffing with one of two combinations; chestnuts and truffle for a decadent, celebratory flavour, or cranberry and pine, for something a little unusual, fresh and fruity.

Alyn Williams

Sticking to tradition, Alyn takes sausage meat and combines it with turkey mince, sage and some chopped chestnuts for added crunch and flavour.

Peter Gordon

The king of fusion cuisine combines classic chestnuts and sage with exotic tamarind and ginger in his stuffing; perfect if you’re looking for something completely different this Christmas.

Mark Hix

Mark keeps his stuffing simple, combining two finely chopped onions with thyme leaves, butter, minced pork or chicken, fresh white breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.

 

Marcello Tully

Marcelo takes finely chopped off-cuts or leftovers of venison loin, sausage meat, chopped dried apricots, prunes, pistachios and the zest of an orange to add a delicious, citrus finish. It goes really well with all poultry, but particularly game.

Phil Howard

Another chef planning to use pine, Phil pairs the unusual ingredient with sweet chestnuts and smoked shallots for an inventive and exciting flavour.

Richard Corrigan

Apple, fennel, shavings of star anise, sage, tarragon and breadcrumbs make up Richard’s stuffing, which he then rolls and wraps with bacon. He says it’s a main course in itself!

David Everitt-Matthias

Sage and chestnuts are two quintessential Christmas flavours, but David combines them with a third – pickled walnuts – to add acidity to his stuffing, as well as turkey offal for a nice savoury kick.

Adam Byatt

Keeping it traditional, Adam takes chestnuts, fresh cranberries, sage, onion and sausage meat, mixes it all together, then uses bread soaked in milk to help bind everything together.

Marcus Wareing

Marcus rolls his stuffing – flavoured with pine nuts and raisins – into balls, places them around the bird to cook for thirty minutes then takes them out just before serving, so everyone gets a nice, crisp bit of stuffing as well as a fluffy middle.

 
 
 

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