Ahh, stuffing – what would a Sunday roast be without you? Or Christmas dinner? Or those guilty pleasure stuffing and gravy sandwiches I used to make at 3am…
Stuffing is, of course, a conundrum – arguably one of the tastiest parts of the dish, does it function as a mere filler to the meat or as its own side dish? Personally I prefer the latter, enjoying a delicious crisp finish to the meal. You may disagree. Furthermore, I recently discovered that British stuffing is far more finely chopped than many American ideals of stuffing, which seem to prefer torn/coarsely chopped bread.
Whatever your preference, this side-dish is packed with flavour. Though I probably wouldn’t pair it with pork, for fear of an overly salted meal, I can see it working with poultry or even beef very well. Or just on its own! In a sandwich! At 3am!
- Fresh mushrooms (finely chopped)
- Bacon (preferably smoked)
- Bread – I think wholemeal is best, as white bread can clump too much
- White Wine (optional – could be replaced with stock)
- Herbs – thyme/rosemary/sage are best for that rustic roast feel.
- Seasoning – Add this at the last moment – the strong flavours of the bacon and mushroom will probably be plenty, and you don’t want to oversalt the dish.
- Preheat your oven to a fairly low 160-170C.
- Crumb your bread as much as you desire – I went for fairly fine, with a few larger chunks for texture. Coat with a little oil and cook in the oven until dry and crisp, but not too brown. 20 minutes or so is plenty.
- Slice your bacon into as small cubes as you would like and fry over a medium heat for a few minutes, just until slightly cooked.
- Throw in a knob of butter and the chopped mushrooms and continue to fry until most of the moisture is out of the mushrooms.
- Add the onions and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add just enough wine to cover the mixture and continue to cook while the wine evaporates and thickens.
- When the wine is roughly half reduced (a few minutes max) add the breadcrumbs and stir through. Continue to cook on the heat until the mix is as dry/well mixed as you would like. At this point you can either stuff your meat, or transfer to an oven-proof dish to bake for a while.
It’s stuffing. Work it out.