Chestnut, bacon and sage stuffing

This is basically the best stuffing you will ever make.

No question.

Seriously.

Chestnut, bacon and sage stuffing rolls
Chestnut, bacon and sage stuffing rolls

It just doesn’t get any better.

Chestnut, bacon and sage stuffing
 
A richly decadent stuffing for any fancy occasion but let's just say Christmas to fill this space.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 50g butter
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped (the original says 2 small, which is just silly)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100 g rindless bacon, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  • ½ cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 x 240g can cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup sage leaves, finely chopped (so much finely chopping!)
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 24 thin slices streaky bacon
  • 1tbsp sherry
  • 2tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and then saute the onion, garlic and bacon for around 5 minutes or until soft
  3. Add the sherry and dates and cook for a further minute or so
  4. In a big bowl toss everything - EXCEPT the bacon, extra sherry and honey - together
  5. On a bench, pull out a long piece of foil - enough to lay the HALF the streaky bacon, slightly overlapping, on
  6. Then do the same with a piece of baking paper and lay that on top of the foil
  7. Place 12 slices of bacon on the baking paper, slightly overlapping each other
  8. You still with me?
  9. Place half the stuffing at one end of the bacon and then, using the baking paper/foil to help you, roll up into a log
  10. Tip for new players, don't roll the paper foil inside the log as you go, use it as you would a sushi mat rolling up... sushi
  11. Then wrap the foil/baking paper around the log and place on a baking tray
  12. Do the second one
  13. Bake for 20 minutes
  14. Take out of the oven and carefully remove the wrapping
  15. Keep on the tray
  16. Brush over the sherry and honey, which you have mixed together
  17. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crisp
  18. * you can prepare this two days ahead and keep in the fridge until ready to cook on Christmas day
  19. * you can add it to the oven at the final 40 mins of cooking time of your ham/pork/chicken/turkey

 

Nigella Lawson feast from Feast: sage and onion chicken and sausages, chocohotpots, peas and lettuce, potato gratin

Monday night saw me make the most kick-arse dinner for some months. It was all from Nigella Lawson’s Feast cookbook, something I am somewhat obsessed with, so bear with me…

This is what it all looked like come dinner time:
Sage and onion roasted chicken and sausages

Nigella Lawson, Feast
I saw her make this and was intrigued. Intrigued enough to cook it, and MY GOODNESS was it seriously delicious.

  • 2kg chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or 10 drumsticks or thigh pieces or whatever you choose)
  • 12 chipolata sausages (she suggests anything from a traditional English sausage, to Italian or Chorizo)
  • 1 large onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 lemon, juiced and rind cut into eighths
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard
  • cracked pepper
  1. Put all the marinade ingredients in a large snap-lock bag (this is a great Nigella tip as it cuts down on washing up and lets your really mush the marinade into the meat)
  2. add the chicken and really mush the marinade and chicken together. Depending on when you do this, either refrigerate or leave at room temperature (I made it on a cold wet day and left it at room temperature for about an hour and a half)
  3. preheat oven to 220C
  4. pour the whole lot into a baking dish and tuck the sausages in around the chicken pieces
  5. sprinkle over the fresh sage
  6. bake for 1hr 15mins, turning everything occasionally so it all browns evenly.

Potato gratin

Nigella Lawson, Feast

I had been craving this for weeks and this seemed like the perfect occasion to satisfy it. The recipe was essentially the same as the potato dauphinois that I’ve been making for years, but it features this fancy thing with an onion. Mind you, on eating, it tasted no different, so I leave the decision on the value of the extra effort to you…

  • 2kg potatoes
  • 500ml milk
  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 cloves, one stuck into each half of the onion
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 bay leaves (although it was too wet for me to bother going out to the garden to get these)
  • good pinch of sea salt (Nigella says 1 tablespoon, I say woo down nelly on the salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 220C
  2. Bring the milk and cream to the boil with the onion, nutmeg and bay leaves, turn off the heat, put a lid on and let the onion infuse the milk.
  3. Peel the potatoes and slice 1cm thick – I use a mandolin for this as it turns a painful, time consuming job into something relatively painless.
  4. Put the potatoes into the milk mixture and bring it back to the boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.
  6. Grease a large baking dish (about 30x37cm) and as you transfer the potatoes remove the onion and cloves and the bay leaves.
  7. Pour over the milk mixture and then bake for about 15 minutes or until its all golden and bubbling.
  8. Seriously one of my most favourite dishes of all time.

 

Peas with lettuce

Nigella Lawson, Feast

I have never ever been one for the cooked lettuce concept, but this, this has changed my world.

  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 45g butter
  • 1 baby cos lettuce, finely shredded
  • 250g frozen baby peas
  • 125ml chicken stock
  1. Cook the onion in the butter until soft, then add the lettuce and cook until it has wilted.
  2. Add the peas and stock and cook over a robust simmer until the stock has reduced slightly and everything is tender.

(Nigella – on the episode she cooks this on – says to cook for 20 minutes or so but I think 10 is ample)

For dessert I did my Chocolate Sludge, but it was weird and didn’t go sludgy at all. I think it’s because it was cooked and we didn’t eat it for a while, so the sauce component sort of got absorbed into the cakey top.

As there was enough of everything to feed the whole family again on Tuesday night, I made a new dessert – Nigella’s Chocohotopots.

 

Chocohotopots (makes 4)
Nigella Lawson, Feast

  • 125g butter
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and grease 4 small ramekins (I used 1 cup size and you fill them about half way)
  2. melt the butter and chocolate together and let cool slightly
  3. in a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar, then fold in the flour
  4. pour in the melted choc butter mix and fold together
  5. spoon the gooey mixture into the ramekins
  6. cook for 20 minutes – the tops go all cracked and lovely and inside is just this gooey goodness.

I mean how easy is that? And can I just say, they are a.m.a.z.i.n.g. – and that’s from someone who really doesn’t do chocolate.

(Note: the recipe in the book adds 100g white choc chips, which you fold through at the end, but this just sent them over the edge. Chef and I agreed they would be divine with some raspberries folded through them.)