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Recipes Section

Stuffing or forcemeat recipes

For most people, meat is the most expensive food item in their food budget. Stuffing is an ideal way to make any meat go a bit further and add a complimentary herb flavour. Used wisely it can turn the blandest meat into a tasty gourmet meal.We'll start with the most common stuffing - the herb-bread based stuffing used for poultry and beef, then move on to the different stuffings used for other meats and vegetables.

A stuffed roast of beef

A stuffed rolled roast of beef

We tend to associate stuffing with chicken but it can be used on any meat. At today's prices, it is an ideal way to make the meat budget go a little further and turn an average roast into a gourmet meal, all at the same time.

A solid peice of meat can be cut to form a pocket, which can be stuffed, increasing the size of the roast. Rolled roasts can be undone, a layer of stuffing spread over the slab of meat, then re-rolled. The easiest way to keep it rolled during cooking, is to spear it with skewers.

Plain stuffing (for poultry and beef)

This is the rich herb bread based stuffing, typically used with beef and poultry. It can also be used for lamb, by adding more rosemary and garlic. It has a high shrinkage when cooked but is excellent at keeping the moisture content of roast meat, turning a potentially dry roast into a serve of juicy tasty meat.

Ingredients

  • Breadcrumbs - 2 cups

  • Eggs - 2 eggs.

  • Mixed Herbs - 2 heaped teaspoons (or one level teaspoon each of sage, thyme and rosemary)

  • Salt - Half a teaspoon.

  • Black pepper - a level teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper.

  • Water - start with half a cup and add more later when well mixed, to make a stiff dough.

  • Onion - one large finely chopped onion.

Stuffed chicken ready to go into the oven

A Stuffed chicken ready to go into the oven

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix by hand into a stiff rough dough. Let stand for 5 to ten minutes. It should smell strongly of mixed herbs. If not add more, herbs lose their aroma with age.

  2. If stuffing a solid peice of meat, cut a pocket with a sharp knife and force the stuffing inside.

  3. If stuffing a rolled roast or a slab of meat (eg. a chicken fillet), lay a layer of stuffing over the slab of meat, roll it up and secure with skewers so it remains rolled during the cooking.

  4. If stuffing poultry, check there are no giblets inside before inserting stuffing, they are often in a small plastic bag. An unpleasant surprise when you carve the bird up afterwards!

  5. To prevent stuffing forming a hard dry crust, cap the stuffing by placing a moistened crust of bread over it during the cooking.

Mock goose

Mock Goose

Mock Goose is a meatless dish made with a layer of poultry stuffing between layers of chopped potatoes and onions. The earliest recipes date back to the 17th Century. It became a popular dish in England when rationing, during World War 2 made meat scarce.

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Bar - Gold bar with Granny Smith Apple

For Stuffing duck, rabbit and goose - Ingredients

Two stuffed rabbits ready to roast

A pair of coneys (rabbits) ready to roast.

This stuffing is used on stronger flavoured meats or small carcasses because unlike the herb-bread based stuffing, this has very little shrinkage and takes on the flavour of the surrounding meat as well as complimenting it with it's own herbs.

  • Premium grade (low fat) mince - 500gms. For quail or squab, use lean pork or chicken mince.

  • Eggs - 2 eggs.

  • Oregano - Mixed Herbs - 2 heaped teaspoons (or one level teaspoon each of sage, thyme and rosemary)

  • Marjoram - a level teaspoon.

  • Basil - a level teaspoon.

  • Black pepper - a level teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper.

  • Zest - finely grated rind of orange for duck or lemon or lime for other meats.

  • Onion - one large finely chopped onion.

  • Apple - grate one large cored and peeled apple.

  • Stock - crush two chicken oxo cubes or add two teaspoons of powdered chicken stock.

Many recipes add chopped nuts as well. Personally I don't think the expense is justified. If you want a nutty flavour add a teaspoon of sesame oil. The apple keeps the stuffing moist. For goose, add a handfull of finely chopped prunes or dates. For turkey add a handful of cranberries or currents instead of the prunes or dates.

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix by hand into a stiff dough.

  2. If stuffing a whole carcass, check inside for any jiblets and remove before stuffing.

  3. If stuffing a slab of meat (eg. a thigh fillet), lay a layer of stuffing over the slab of meat, roll it up and secure with skewers or tooth picks so it remains rolled during the cooking.

  4. Small rolls or carcasses (eg. thigh fillets, quail or squab) are best cooked, wrapped in cooking foil to retain moisture and uncovered in the last 20 minutes to brown. A glaze of brown sugar and salt dissolved in water and brushed over them will create an amazing result.

  5. To prevent stuffing forming a hard dry crust, cap the stuffing by placing a moistened crust of bread over it during the cooking and remove before serving.

Four stuffed squab, cooked to perfection.

Four stuffed squab, cooked to perfection.

With dishes like rabbit,quail or squab, the portions would be too small to serve but by adding a stuffing that doesn't shrink in the cooking, we get a meal sized portion. It is important that the stuffing flavour does not overpower the game flavour, so avoid adding strong flavours, like garlic to your stuffing.

For vegetable stuffing (eg. peppers or marrow) use a mixture of mince and rice in equal portions and herbs like rosemary or oregano, with salt and perre to taste. For dolmades, add a little mint.

Bar - Gold bar with Granny Smith Apple

Basket of Fresh herbs

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