December, 2018

September, 2018

August, 2018

  • Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    28 August, 2018 Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    Sometimes fine-dining menus can seem like more of a maze than a relaxing pre-dining experience. Here, we breakdown some of the cheffy terms you’re likely to come across and include recipes so you can test them out at home.
    Read more…

  • Cooking the classics

    27 August, 2018 Cooking the classics

    We consider those classic recipes we go back to time and time again.
    Read more…

  • IGNI: The first year

    06 August, 2018 IGNI: The first year

    VIDEO: Acclaimed chef Aaron Turner's stirring account of love, loss and starting again.
    Read more…

May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
    Read more…

August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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May, 2017

April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
    Read more…

  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
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October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
    Read more…

  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
    Read more…

  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
    Read more…

  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
    Read more…

  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

Christmas basics: the perfect stuffing

By
Justine Costigan
Added
01 December, 2015

We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. Say no to sodden flavourless stuffing!

Once upon a time (some time before the fifth century AD), a thrifty chef looked at the freshly removed innards of a bird and thought, “I can do something with that”. They cleaned and finely diced the offal, fried it with butter or olive oil in a pan, added onion, herbs, and some crumbled stale bread, cooled it, returned it to the cavity, then roasted the bird. 

Well, something like that. In any case, it must have tasted delicious and the idea of stuffing meat, birds, fish and vegetables caught on.

How to make a stuffing

Offal used to be common in stuffing and there are also many recipes using sausage meat, cured meats, vegetables and grains. Dried and fresh fruit, nuts and herbs are also commonly included. Margaret Fulton has many variations on the classic bread and herb stuffing, adding spinach, lemon, mushroom, and even oysters to a classic stuffing mix.

Stuffing should be inserted into a clean and dry bird, just before cooking. Secure the entrance to the cavity with string or a toothpick. Stuffed meats usually need to be tightly rolled and tied to make sure the stuffing remains intact.

Classic stuffing

Margaret Fulton’s classic stuffing recipes (and there are many of them), particularly for stuffed birds, include a gently sautéd onion or shallot added to crumbled stale bread, herbs and seasoning. Sometimes an egg is added to bind the mix. (See below for some of our favourite Fulton classics.)

Gluten-free stuffing

Rice has always been a popular stuffing option and is perfect for people who don't eat gluten. In Greg and Lucy Malouf’s Arabesque, rice and chorizo are mixed with shallots, garlic, lemon and parsley before stuffing into a chicken or game bird and roasted. Rice stuffing is particularly popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, and not just for meats – think rice stuffed capsicums, tomatoes and zucchini. Antonio Carlucci stuffs ripe tomatoes with a mix of rice, anchovy, garlic and mint.

Ian Thorpe's Roast chicken with preserved lemon stuffing

Stuffing do’s and don’ts

Stuffing can be prepared in advance but it’s preferable to stuff your meat just before cooking. If your stuffing includes cooked ingredients, make sure the stuffing is chilled before using.

While it sounds logical for a bird or meat to be thoroughly stuffed, avoid using so much that the stuffing becomes compacted. Stuffing should have some texture and if you’re using a bread-based stuffing, it can quickly become a solid mass of starch. Aim for a nice crumbly texture.

Stuffing traditionally goes in the cavity of a bird, fish or beast, but some recipes, especially for stuffed birds, call for stuffing to be inserted between the skin and the flesh. This is usually a case of following family tradition, but stuffing the cavity will give you a richer, more intense flavour, as the stuffing will absorb some of the juices from the meat and bones.

Serving stuffing

Stuffed birds should have the stuffing removed before carving. Stuffing can be served from a bowl or alongside the meat. Meat stuffing should be left in place, with each slice of meat showing off the stuffing inside.

Margaret Fulton's Roasted stuffed turkey breast

Classic stuffings from Margaret Fulton

Lemon and parsley stuffing

Makes enough to stuff a turkey

  • 3 cups cubed day-old bread
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped Continental parsley
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

Process the bread in a food processor until it forms crumbs. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking tray and dry in a 160°C oven for about 20 minutes. Combine the breadcrumbs, onion, herbs, lemon rind, juice and butter. Add the egg, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss lightly with a fork to mix. Use to stuff the cavity (main body) of turkey.

Pork, apple and pistachio stuffing

Makes enough to stuff a turkey

  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 4 slices white bread, cubed
  • 500 g pork mince
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Continental parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour the apple juice or cider over the bread cubes and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Mix together the pork mince, celery, apples, onion, herbs and pistachios with the soaked bread. Blend together well with the egg and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use to stuff the crop (breast) of turkey.

Cognac raisin and rice stuffing

Makes enough to stuff a duck

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
  • 125 g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped, shelled pistachios or pine nuts

Soak the raisins in the Cognac or brandy for 10 minutes. Sauté the spring onion in the butter until tender. Combine the raisins, spring onions and butter, salt, rice and nuts in a large bowl and toss lightly to combine.

Prune, chestnut and celery stuffing

Makes enough to stuff a turkey

  • 12 large dessert prunes
  • 1/2 cup red wine mixed with . cup water
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g dried chestnuts or 290 g canned whole chestnuts
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (Continental parsley, thyme, sage)
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • 1/2 beaten egg

Soak the prunes in the wine for 2 hours. Gently simmer the prunes and wine in a saucepan until tender. Drain and reserve the liquid. Cut into quarters. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté. the onion and celery until tender. Quarter the chestnuts and add to a bowl with the prunes, onion and celery, and remaining ingredients, adding a little prune juice if necessary. This stuffing is suitable for the crop or neck of the turkey. To use it as a stuffing for a whole turkey, add 4–6 cups fresh breadcrumbs, enough stock or orange juice to moisten and a whole egg to bind.

Fresh Herb Stuffing

Makes enough to stuff a small turkey or large chicken

  • 2 cups soft white breadcrumbs
  • 60 g butter
  • 3–4 tablespoons chopped Continental parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme or lemon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped marjoram
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking tray and dry in a 160°C oven for about 20 minutes. Melt the butter and combine in a large bowl with the toasted crumbs and the remaining ingredients. If the lemon is large and very juicy, use the juice of only half the lemon. Allow the mixture to cool, and stuff the bird just before roasting.

Check out these great Margaret Fulton titles in the bookstore

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