Monday, 22 October 2012

Stuffing from Scratch

There's something about the weather growing colder that makes me want to spend Sunday afternoon pottering around the house and making a roast dinner.  I don't know where that feeling comes from as I don't really remember a traditional Sunday Dinner ritual at home when I was growing up.

Making homemade sage & onion stuffing

I also don't remember ever tasting stuffing (although I probably did and just didn't like the texture) until my student days when a friend would make the packet kind into stuffing balls to accompany (non-roast) dinners - such was the joy of a tiny packet costing less than 10p that grew into a large amount of food!  

In my adult life I've gone through phases of Sunday roast-making rituals - usually according to the season - but until this year, apart from Christmas, I had still been using that student life staple of stuffing from a packet, rehydrated and baked.  Cameron is a fiend for sage and onion stuffing and so I didn't think to deviate.

Christmas stuffing cake 2011


At Christmastime I make a bacon-wrapped sausage and sage stuffing cake that I found in a magazine article.  It's simple to make and always turns out to be the most popular thing on the table which has had me thinking about whether there might be more to stuffing than just being a lowly side dish.

Times are tough right now and with food prices rising a meaty roast dinner is not necessarily possible on a weekly basis.  An organic free range chicken, for instance, can cost almost a third of our weekly food budget and even if you stretch the meat out over several meals it's still expensive.  So I've been thinking... what if stuffing took centre stage every now and again?  Not the packet kind, obviously, but special homemade stuffing - like a fancier version of a meatloaf that can also be meatless!

Homemade sage & onion stuffing


Something I love about making my own stuffing is the scope for variety.  Working with a base of breadcrumbs and binding the mixture with an egg you can throw in whatever you fancy or whatever is handy at the time: leftover pumpkin, mushrooms, polenta, seeds and nuts, herbs, a few greens etc.  you can jazz up the appearance by using crouton-cut bread on the top, enrich the flavours with good quality stock, cater for all kinds of diets (mine is usually vegetarian and made with gluten free breadcrumbs) and if you're craving that meaty roast you can wrap the stuffing in bacon or pancetta... the possibilities really are endless.

I think this idea warrants a bit more investigation and experimentation!

Do you make your own stuffing?  What's your favourite kind?

19 comments:

  1. my husband is vegetarian (excepting the fish I have bullied him into eating recently) and quite often when we have roastie he just has the roast veg - the stuffing is his meat, and it is, as you highlight, a possibility that stuffing (made proper-like) could be the centrepiece. Why not? And your homemade stuffing has made me instantly ashamed of my Paxo ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, Janice - I'm sure I'm not completely free of the Paxo, Cameron does have quite a strong attachment to it!

      Delete
  2. Mmmmm I love packet sage and onion and yes I do make my own on rare occasions but always stick to sage and onion.....how unadventurous is that. I promise to try harder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only if it works for you - I'm not the stuffing police or anything!! ;o)

      Delete
    2. Hahaha thanks not worried about your disapproval now then x

      Delete
  3. I love stuffing and even my picky daughter liked my onion and thyme version. I love any with sausage meat or chestnuts in! I do have a guilty soft spot for paxos though,particularly before its gone in the oven.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh yes - I'm thinking of experimenting with chestnuts next. I've never eaten the packet stuff before it's baked.

      Delete
  4. I have never made my own stuffing, ever! It's never even occurred to me as I always go for the packet stuff out of habit. I think I'll be returning to your blog in the near future when I make my next roast dinner. In fact, I'm hungry now! :O)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful, I'm glad you feel inspired!

      Delete
  5. Ooh I love stuffing, it has to be sage and onion Paxo with a packet of sausage meat mixed in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tinuke - that's an interesting suggestion, I hadn't thought of adding to the packet kind.

      Delete
  6. "An organic free range chicken, for instance, can cost almost a third of our weekly food budget and even if you stretch the meat out over several meals it's still expensive."

    I get it!
    At the local farmers market they are $14 each. We get 2 small whole ones at Whole Foods that come packaged together. The brand is "Mary's." They are organic and raised consciously (not 'free ranged' in tiny outdoor sheds.) I get 2 chickens for about $14 ($1.99 a lb.)
    So: for $7 (one chicken) four people get one roasted chicken dinner and several bowls of delicious soup in the days that follow. Not Bad!!
    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see what you're saying. I think we all draw our line in the sand where we feel comfortable about what we buy, in regards to meat in particular.
      I'm in the UK so I'm not familiar with the brands you mention.

      Delete
  7. I have always made my own stuffing the same way that my mum did and her mum did. Breadcrumbs, sage, onion, lemon rind and egg, I hardly make it these days as I rarely cook chicken, being vege ( rest of the family is not). I also make a vege burger which is similar and very tasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A family recipe passed down through generations - how wonderful! The burgers are a great idea.

      Delete
  8. We've recently started eating meat again and have found it prohibitively expensive. Love veggie recipes and stuffing too so may well make it centre stage also! Good idea!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a helpful post, I never thought of stuffing before now, but this post is definitely helpful in showing you how easy it is to home make EVERYTHING on your roast dinner plate! Thank you!

    Lovely blog btw, love all the crafts, you've got a wonderful lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete

I'm trialling the word verification to avoid having to approve all comments (in order to weed out spam). Apologies if it bothers you.
If you're having a repeat problem with the form then please do email me at homebakedonline at gmail dot com and I'll do my best to sort it out.

I really appreciate the time you take to visit and comment :o)