Chestnut, Apricot & Date Stuffing Balls

Here is a really tasty stuffing recipe which your Christmas dinner guests will love. My recipe not only tastes delicious but is very easy to make in advance.

Traditionally stuffing was there to “stuff” the turkey and flavour the meat but most people tend to cook the stuffing separately nowadays. I think these stuffing balls not only taste and smell fabulous but they also look great on the plate.

The bonus with this recipe is that you can make it ahead and store in the fridge for a day or so or freeze in an uncooked state then defrost and cook on Christmas Day.

I did find vacuum packed chestnuts in my local supermarket but you might have to hunt around for them and buy a packet as soon as you see them, as they sell out quickly. If you can only get dried chestnuts, then soak overnight to plump them up.

If you can’t get chestnuts at all, then just use chopped pecan nuts instead. If the mixture seems too dry when using pecans and won’t stick together into balls,  let it cool before adding a raw beaten egg to help bind everything. However when serving dishes containing nuts, always double check that no one at your dinner table has a nut allergy.

This recipe makes around 8 pretty large stuffing balls, Each was a bit bigger than a golf ball and closer to a small plum in size, plus it made one extra small one which we cooked and ate just to test the mixture. It did taste flipping awesome by the way, so I can’t wait to cook these for Mum and Dad on Christmas Day! Yummy, yummy, in my tummy!

Here’s my recipe but do take a moment to ponder over the close up photo of one of my stuffing balls I’ve posted right at the end. So tantalizingly delicious!

 

 

Ingredients

1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
100g of chopped dried apricots
50g of chopped dried dates
150g of fresh white bread crumbs
a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley and a few optional sage leaves
180g packet of vacuum packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
50g of butter, melted
salt and back pepper to taste

Method

Cover the chopped onion and apricots with a little water and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes on High in a microwave proof bowl. Set to one side and leave to soak for a few minutes while you prepare everything else.

Put the fresh breadcrumbs, chopped dates, parsley and half of the melted butter into a bowl and mix well.

Put the rest of the butter into a pan and add the chopped chestnuts. Saute gently for a few minutes.

Drain the onions and apricots then add to the bowl along with the fried chestnuts.

Mix everything again and season well with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Using your hands, form into balls. Refrigerate until cold to firm up then cook for 30 min on an oiled roasting dish at around 200C, 400F or Gas Mark 6

You can also freeze the uncooked stuffing balls then defrost and cook at a later date. This makes them perfect to prepare ahead of Christmas Day.

Your friends and family will just marvel at your fabulous menu planning and cooking ability but more importantly, they will be pleasantly “stuffed”!

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