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Sometimes, it makes sense to use one’s obsessions to advantage. I know that most people don’t have trivial light-bulb moments when the notion pops into an already food-filled head to make a stuffing in which crumbled gingerbread cake replaces breadcrumbs, but that’s, unfathomably, how my mind works.
You can use dark brown, dense gingerbread, or the lighter, sandier loaves. I buy spiced bread rather than make it & you will often find it sold, even still in loaf-shape, as ginger cake. It all works. Indeed any sweet, spiced bread, such as pannetone, would.
Prep time 25 mins
Cooking time 60 mins
500g onions (3 medium onions)
2 eating apples (approx. 325g / 11oz, peeled & cored)
1 x 15ml tbsp vegetable oil
750g streaky bacon
zest of 2 clementines/satsumers
450g good shop-bought gingerbread loaves (such as Mcvitie's Jamaica) loosely crumbled
2 large eggs (beaten)
approx 1Ž2 tsp freshly ground pepper
MethodUsing a food processor or by hand, finely chop the onions & apples. Put the butter & oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat & fry the chopped onions & apples until soft, about 10–15 minutes. Finely chop the streaky bacon in the processor, or by hand, & add this to the softened onion & apple mixture. Cook everything, stirring frequently, for about 5 mins more. Add the zest of the clementines/satsumas. Take the pan off the heat & let it cool a little before mixing in the gingerbreadcrumbs. You can let this get properly cold now if you want. Just before you want to cook the stuffing, add the beaten eggs & pepper, & use it to stuff the cavity of your turkey, or cook all of it (or what’s left after stuffing your bird) in a buttered baking dish. I don’t stuff the bird but put all of my stuffing in a very generously buttered old Le Creuset terrine, with internal dimensions of approx. 25cm x 9cm x 7cm deep / 10 x 31Ž2 x 3 inches deep. Bake it in a hot oven (200°C/gas mark 6) with your turkey for about the last 45 mins. If the stuffing’s going into a full oven – which it no doubt is – there should be no need to cover the dish. If the oven is less full, & therefore hotter & less steamy, you could cover with foil for the first 30 minutes. Let the cooked stuffing sit in its terrine for a good 10 mins out of the oven before turning it out & slicing it. Or just spoon from the dish if that’s less stressful. (I love a slice of this, cold, in a Christmas night or Boxing Day turkey sandwich.)
Nigel’s Top Tips
Make the stuffing, leave to cool completely then beat in the eggs & pepper. Cover & keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Make the stuffing, with the eggs & pepper, & freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge.