With the price of wheat going up all round the world, we have to remember how to be thrifty cooks. Those little balls of stuffing you can buy on trays in supermarkets - well, they started out (before the days of supermarkets) as a way to use up the stale end of a loaf of bread, as well as to make the meat go further. Using up every last crumb feels particularly important when you made the bread as well.
These forcemeat balls are a staple of old-fashioned English cookery. They are very quick to make, and go into the oven for the last 20-30 minutes of roasting whatever meat you have.
I used home-made chive bread (my basic white loaf with a lot of chopped chives added in at the rate of one heaped tablespoon per 100g of flour). I also used four rashers of cold cooked streaky bacon left over from breakfast, but, although a little bacon or ham is a common ingredient in English forcemeat, these are also fine without meat of any sort.
Forcemeat balls with three herbs
2 thick slices of good bread, 100-120g
a handful of chopped parsley
a handful of chopped chives (unless you're using chive bread)
OR a spring onion
2-3 leaves of sage
a little bacon (optional)
1 beaten egg
and a little oil to help bind if necessary
Whizz the bread in a processor, then add the herbs, spring onion and bacon (if using). Tip into a bowl and mix in the egg. You may find that the mixture will not hold together, in which case add a little oil. Wet your hands and roll dollops of the mix into balls.
It's a good idea to make these a little ahead, so that they can rest in the fridge, which will make them less likely to fall apart. Put into the oven for the last 20 to 30 minutes of roasting your chicken, either in their own tin, or carefully arranged around the bird. You can baste them with the juices if you like. Or not.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Kalyn - a rare event these days.
Behind the scenes - working on October Gardens Illustrated linocut - Each month I look forward to an email from David at Gardens Illustrated magazine with an attached text file of Frank Ronan's latest column. Sometimes ther...
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