Thursday, 16 December 2010

Kilted Sausages and Cranberry & Apple Stuffing

Living in fear of being snowed in has led me to a new and very lovely place in my life: I am really quite organised for Christmas. Presents have been bought or (hopefully) are on their way. Cakes have been baked for home and for the Green Apple Cafe, canapes have been made and frozen and only interesting side dishes remain to be considered.

There is something so depressing about kilted sausages in a supermarket pack. Usually 12 miniature sausages with a wafer thin wrapping of bacon in a huge plastic pack. Why depressing? Well either you need lots of packs or you are getting one or at best two tiny sausages with your Christmas dinner. "That's enough for me," you might say, and while I might agree with you on the day, it is simply too frugal for that particular meal. So I need to make mine at home. Not rocket science but one of those little side dishes that is worth a little bit of time and effort sourcing the ingredients. A good butcher for the chipolata sausages (get lots), well cured bacon, I found some maple cured streaky bacon. Then simply run the flat of a knife along the streaky bacon to stretch it out a little thinner, then wrap each little sausage in a little kilt of bacon. Cook alongside the turkey as you would a very small pack of supermarket sausages. It is well worth a drizzle of maple syrup with a light hand just a few minutes before you take them out of the oven to accentuate the sweetness of the bacon.

A proper recipe this time for Cranberry stuffing. Another simple recipe but with the best ingredients, it makes a special addition to Christmas dinner. Either buy good sausages and split their skins to remove the sausage meat or speak to your local butcher and ask for their best shop-made sausage meat. This stuffing can be used in the traditional way to stuff a turkey but I prefer it cooked seperately

Cranberry, Apple and Pork Stuffing
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
500g good quality sausage meat
100g fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
2 green apples, peeled and grated
zest of one tangerine or small orange
1 egg

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion and saute until transluscent but not coloured.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, stir the onion together with all the other ingredients until well combined. The easiest way is to knead with your hands.
Either roll the mixture into small balls the size of walnuts or press into a loaf tin.(If you must, use it to stuff the turkey but this makes the turkey even harder to cook so I prefer to cook it seperately as a side dish)
For walnut sized balls, bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. For stuffing baked in a loaf tin, bake for 45-60 minutes until golden and cooked throughout. Serve with turkey or with any roast dinner.

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