JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Herb stuffing for roast chicken

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.


Kalyn Denny said...

Sounds delicious! This is so interesting because I also got an entry this week for an Italian version of leftover bread made into balls with herbs. Shows how good cooks all over the world get the same ideas!

Laurie Constantino said...

What an excellent idea - I'm picturing a plate with roast chicken surrounded by these stuffing balls - really a great idea.

Cottage Smallholder said...

These look so pretty Joanna. I bet they are delicious too.

I have tagged you for a meme, hope that you don't mind.

Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

this is a great idea and there's always a need to use leftover bread.
you could even resort to smoked soy rashes (ie not-bacon) for a purely vegetarian version.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That is a simple glorious idea. That would be wonderful with my roast chicken!

Chris said...

I love these! What a great addition to a meal. :)

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, thanks for sharing it! Would love to feature you on, a site that helps people to live healthier. Can't find a contact form so thought I'd comment; look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Larisa

Katie Zeller said...

I'm not sure which I like better - the little stuffing balls or the chive bread. I'm so happy I've had chives again for the last few weeks...Spring!