So which parts of the Christmas dinner can you not live without? In our family, the list looks like this -
- roast potatoes
- cranberry sauce
- turkey sandwiches - not strictly part of Christmas dinner, I know, but this is my favourite part, so it's staying. And these turkey sandwiches MUST be on white bread and they MUST be smothered in cranberry sauce and, of course, stuffing.
So, in other words, stuffing gets two votes. That must mean it's clearly one of the cornerstones of our family Christmas dinner. But it's not just any old stuffing, this is our family recipe for Celery, Apricot and Walnut Stuffing that we've been making for decades.
Making stuffing is not hard, but it does tend to involve a fair amount of time-consuming prep (much chopping and sweating of vegetables) and it's not what I want to be doing any time close to Christmas dinner. Particularly anything that involves sweating.
But the good news is that you can do all of this prep well in advance and then freeze it ready to defrost for the final cooking on the big day.
So what is special about this Celery, Apricot and Walnut stuffing?
This is the stuffing of family traditions and we all adore it. Until I went away to college (just slightly more than a few years ago), I had no idea that there was any other way to make stuffing apart from scratch and with fresh ingredients. I then had my eyes opened to Paxo Sage & Onion - but chose to close them again very quickly.
This is a delicious stuffing, the recipe for which originated from the Cordon Bleu Cookery Course - a publication in 72 parts from 1968. They were housed in a nifty blue box binder or three and my parents would dip into them for all sorts of dishes. It's definitely worth checking the books out - even if it's just to admire the classic 60s photography.
Anyway, this recipe has stood the test of time for sure and I don't think there has been too much tweaking over the intervening 40 or so years.
I will do all the time-consuming prep (chopping and sweating - that's the vegetables, not me) well in advance and then freeze the stuffing ready to defrost for the final cooking on the big day. So this is yet another way to free yourself up to spend more of your day enjoying the festivities and less time suffering a frenzied festive sauna. At this rate, you're going to be a Christmas Day Lady/Man of Leisure. That'll be a yes to another Buck's Fizz.....
Sometimes, I cook the stuffing inside the turkey, but when we go for 'Christmas Dinner in a Box' or if I would just rather not stuff the bird, I cook it in a separate dish in the oven. I'll use a little chicken stock to mimic the juices from the bird and I'll be ready with the tin foil if I think it's browning too quickly.
I can practically taste that turkey sandwich ... it's a cracker. Did you see what I did there?!Print
Celery, Apricot & Walnut Stuffing
You can do all the time-consuming prep beforehand and pop your stuffing in the freezer so that you are ready to go on Christmas Day.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Hob
- Cuisine: Christmas
- 50g (2oz) goose fat or butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 small head of celery, finely chopped
- 50g (2oz) dried apricots, finely chopped
- 100g (4oz) walnuts, chopped
- 80g (3oz) fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
If you are cooking the stuffing in a separate dish in the oven -
- 200-300ml (1 cup) chicken stock - adjust the quantity depending on how you like your stuffing
- Melt the goose fat or butter in a pan and add the onions. Cover and cook until soft, but not browned.
- Add the celery, apricots and walnuts and cook for about 4 minutes on a high heat, stirring continuously.
- Allow the mixture to cool and add the breadcrumbs and parsley. Season to taste.
- You can freeze the stuffing at this stage. Be sure to defrost it thoroughly before use.
- To cook the stuffing in the oven - Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F (gas mark 4). Place it in a well greased baking dish and drizzle with some or all of the chicken stock - you can always start with a little and add more if the stuffing seems to be too dry.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until cooked through and a little crusty on the top. Keep an eye on it to make sure that the top doesn't brown too much.
- Alternatively use the stuffing to stuff your bird.
Keywords: turkey, festive, sandwiches
I was so thrilled to find this recipe. When I moved recently I ditched my 1960s Cordon Bleu set, completely forgetting that this recipe had also been my family's traditional stuffing for 50 years. So thrilled to find it online. Thank you Google; thank you Rachel.
Wow - your message has just made my day! So pleased that I was able to help avert a stuffing crisis. My Mum will love this story and it will, without a doubt, strengthen her case for never ditching anything ever again! Thanks for getting in touch x