It is to my great shame that up until a few years ago the only sort of sage and onion stuffing to ever grace my Sunday table was made by Mr Paxo. Paxo stuffing has a lot to recommend it, not least the fact that it is unquestionably a taste and smell of childhood. OK, it looks a little bit like the contents of a Hoover bag in its natural state, but I considered it as quintissentially Sundayish as The Archers.
Edited to add: the idea originally came from my brother, D2 and sister in law who are roast dinner experts of the first order.
Anyway, make it I did from a completely traditional Mrs Beeton recipe and it was so glorious that it has appeared regularly on the table ever since, most recently this last Sunday, and yet never reared its head on the blog.
I love a roast dinner and it is possible to have a heaped plateful for a (relatively) reasonable number of points. Roast potatoes for example. I use just a tablespoon of oil for two people, cooling the parboiled potatoes and then tossing them in the (also cold) oil before putting them in the oven. It’s a contentious way of doing it, but I find it gives excellently crispy results and means you can control (and limit) the amount of fat you are adding. Meanwhile the volume on the plate which we all crave from a proper Sunday lunch can easily be created by piles of veg – carrot and ginger mash is a particular favourite of mine, zero points apart from a scant knob of butter tossed through at the end to add richness.
At 4pps, the stuffing is one of the pointier aspects but well worth it. Still, you could halve the portion and still have a dollop of lovely, herby deliciousness. Then, you could have the rest of it smeared all over your cold cut sandwich the next day.
100g sliced white bread, ideally slightly stale (crusts removed)
4 x onions, peeled and halved
10 (roughly) largeish sage leaves
1 medium egg yolk
Serves 4, 4 pro points per portion
You will need a little blitzer, a large saucepan, a bowl, a slotted spoon and a spoon for mixing.
Fill the pan with cold water, place in the onion halves and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for five minutes. This will take the raw tang out of the onions and leave them sweetly flavoursome for the stuffing.
Meanwhile, place the bread in the blitzer and whizz into fine crumbs. Transfer to the waiting bowl.
When the onions have had their required bath, remove to the blitzer using a slotted spoon. Put the sage leaves in the still simmering water for around 30 seconds – again, just to take the raw taste off. Transfer these to the blitzer with the onions and whizz into a greenly speckled, savoury paste.
In the same pan, over a gentle heat, put the butter on to melt.
Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the breadcrumbs, the onion paste, the egg yolk and more seasoning than you think you need and stir briskly to combine.
Bake alongside the joint – I use disposable foil trays. The top will brown but the inside will remain much more yielding than packet stuffing. Serve alongside roast chicken and all the trimmings.