Homemade forcemeat stuffing
Traditionally stuffing is used with poultry, both turkey and chicken, as well as with pork or duck meals. Homemade stuffing is both quick and easy to do when you have a few fresh herbs in the garden. Stuffing was originally used to make scrawny chickens go further and to add flavor to the meat. The base for the traditional stuffing, such as sage and onion stuffing, is just bread, flavoring and an egg to bind it. The stuffing was put into the cavity of the bird to keep the meat moist and give some flavor and removed, to be served separately, before the bird was served. This gave the poor stuffing a very bad name as it was often soggy and worse, undercooked which made it unsafe to eat when it contained meat. Stuffings that have meat included are called Forcemeat stuffings and they can be made easily and cooked safely giving a little extra flavor to the whole meal.
The modern cook can easily make a decent homemade forcemeat stuffing, which best cooked alongside the chicken or duck rather than inside the bird. If you want to add flavoring to the chicken itself, place some fresh herbs inside the cavity and under the skin. Leftover stuffing is fine the next day when used alongside any leftover meat. Meat stuffing (forcemeat stuffing) can be used for so much more than chicken and pork. It can used to fill sweet peppers, tomatoes, and summer squash plus many more vegetables. The base of my homemade stuffing is pork patties and a little bread. The older books talk about day-old bread which indicated that the bread is stale. Modern bread includes preservatives to keep it soft for several days and thus ‘stale’ the first adjustment to traditional recipes. Either leave a slice of bread on the counter overnight to get a little stale or place under a grill for a few minutes to harden on the outside.
Recipe for Homemade Forcemeat Stuffing
1 slice ‘stale’ bread – about ½ cup of soft breadcrumbs
1 chopped onion – chopped
2 pork sausage patties
1 tbs. mixed fresh herbs – sage, thyme, oregano, parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Cornstarch or flour for easier handling.
To Make Homemade Forcemeat Stuffing
1: Run the bread through a chopper to make fresh chopped bread;
2: In a large bowl, add the bread, herbs and onion;
3: Add the pork patties;
4: Add the egg;
5: Combine all the ingredients together to make a slightly soggy mix;
6: Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the egg to be absorbed;
7: With a little cornstarch or flour on your hands, make small balls about 1-inch – 2-inches across;
8: Place the stuffing balls around the meat or onto a greased pan;
9: Cook in 350 – 375 oven for about 40 minutes. If your meat is in at a 350 temperature, the stuffing takes about 45 mins, slightly less in a 375 oven. Time is also dependent on the size of the balls. Internal temperature should be 160 and outside should be just crisp. Turn the stuffing balls over at least once during cooking to brown on all sides.
Other chopped vegetables can such as peppers or celery can be used to vary the stuffing and a vegetarian version can be made with no meat, just lots of herbs and vegetables. Chestnuts and orange flavor make a traditional stuffing for duck and a variety of dried fruit is also common in some areas. This homemade pork stuffing is easy to make and assemble which makes it great for many more dishes than just a roasted chicken or piece of pork.