My parents decided on Sunday that they would host an ‘Early Christmas Dinner’ for all the family, as my brother and his family were coming down from South Wales on a pre-Christmas visit. I thought it was a great idea! We love adore Christmas dinner- so why save it for only one meal a year? Anyway, it was a great idea to get us all into the festive spirit.
Mom had all bases covered, so I decided to take my special Christmas stuffing which I also made last year and which earnt me lots of the family’s praise. As my daughter-in-law says, and I agree, she could forgo the turkey and just have a plateful of stuffing and gravy! I’d have to add cranberry sauce to that, love the stuff!
It’s simple to make, try and buy the best quality sausage meat that you can, it makes a big difference.
The first thing I did was start off by frying 200g lardons (or chopped up bacon) in a little oil,
to this I added 1 onion, finely chopped and a small bunch of sage, finely chopped, fry off for a few minutes until softened.
Add the lardons, sage and onion to 900g best quality sausagemeat, 170g pack of sage and onion stuffing mix (which has been re-constituted with water as per packet instructions)
To this, add 200g cooked chestnuts which have been roughly chopped (I like to chop them into quite large pieces as I feel it adds to the texture of the final dish. I really like the feel of them, grainy, nutty but soft)
Also add a 250g jar of wholeberry cranberry sauce and plenty of seasoning.
Bake in an ovenproof dish, at 160degC (fan oven) for about 60-90 minutes. The final cooking time depends on the dimensions of your chosen dish, the deeper the stuffing is, the more cooking is needed. Mine needed the whole 90 minutes.
Bear in mind that this recipe makes a large amount, you could halve the recipe, or make the whole amount and do as I did by having stuffing and gravy sandwiches the day after! Heaven.
What could be nicer after our Christmas meal than some festive cupcakes?
These ones are Delia Smith’s chestnut cupcakes, from her Christmas book, made with sweetened chestnut puree, both in the batter and in the topping, and topped with the most heavenly (and expensive!) marrons glace…….
The children really loved these ones….
Chocolate chip muffins with peppermint buttercream frosting, topped with candy canes and little gold stars.
Roll on our next Christmas dinner I say!