Neven Maguire: Christmas Herb & Onion Stuffing

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From Neven Maguire’s new book ‘Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas. ‘This is a really good recipe for the buttery fresh herb stuffing that everyone seems to love and I have been making it for years, ever since watching my mother Vera making it as a young child. If you prefer it can be cooked and served in a separate dish (rather than in the bird itself), which makes it more crispy and golden. However, I tend to use it to stuff the cavity and neck of the bird so that it soaks up all the delicious juices while cooking.’

MAKES ENOUGH TO STUFF 1 X 4.5–5.4KG (10–12LB) TURKEY

Ingredients

175g (6oz) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
500g (18oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
25g (1oz) fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves finely chopped
15g (½oz) fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
15g (½oz) fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Melt the butter in a frying pan set over a low heat, then add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Tip into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs and herbs, then season generously. Leave to cool completely.

2. Use the stuffing to three-quarters fill the cavity of the bird, then secure the flaps of skin over the cavity with a metal skewer. Use the rest of the stuffing to fill the crop of the neck end. Start at the neck end, where you’ll find a flap of loose skin. Gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap underneath the bird and secure it with a small skewer. Cook as per the instructions for roasting the turkey (see Neven’s recipe showing his foolproof method to roast a Christmas turkey here).

NEVEN’S VARIATION

Fruity Chestnut & Sage Stuffing

If you would like to ring in the changes, try adding 200g (7oz) of chopped canned or vacuum-packed chestnuts to the stuffing along with a couple handfuls of dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots. This version also benefits from the addition of a good tablespoon of chopped fresh sage and even a small packet of toasted pine nuts for a different texture.

WHERE TO BUY NEVEN MAGUIRE’S NEW CHRISTMAS COOKBOOK

Neven Maguire’s new book Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas is published by Gill Books – buy it at the Gill Books online bookshop or at any good bookstore throughout Ireland.

CURATE: You can also buy Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas online at Amazon.co.uk.

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