Whilst I won’t argue with people who would contest that this stuffing is not appropriate for the Christmas day feat, but I would stand my ground and say that its perfect for Boxing day and the days after, once we’ve all had our fill of various traditions. Rather than turning the bread into crumbs, its torn up into pieces, giving the stuffing a more rugged texture with crispy charred pieces mingling with the juicy semi dried tomatoes. The additional combination of the pesto, chorizo, balsamic vinegar and sage is surely enough to convince the strongest stuffing die-hards.
500g white sourdough bread (old or stale is ideal)
175g cooking chorizo, chopped into small pieces
75g unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2tsp dried sage or 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced into rounds
2tbsp 1.25 balsamic vinegar
1/3 jar of Balsamic Semi Dried Tomatoes, drained of oil
500ml chicken stock
5tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Heat an oven to 120C. Cut the sourdough into 1 inch slices and then cut each slice into half so that you have 2 long pieces. With your hands, tear each strip into 1 inch sized chunks. Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes, moving around occasionally, till dried out but not coloured. Remove and allow to cool
Place a wide based pot or frying pan on a medium heat and when hot, add the chorizo. Move around a little and then leave, allowing the fat to render and to crisp and colour. Move around again and continue to cook till crisp all over, perhaps turning the heat down if necessary. Add the onion, celery, garlic, butter, rosemary, sage and stir to mix, seasoning with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for around 15 -20 minutes, till soft and sweet but not coloured, so keep an eye on the heat. Add the mushrooms and cook till softened, then add the balsamic vinegar. Stir, taste and season if necessary. Empty into a large mixing bowl along with the dried chunks of bread and semi dried tomatoes.
Heat an oven to 175C. In a small bowl or jug, beat the 2 eggs, then add the stock and pesto and beat again to combine. Pour this over the stuffing mix and stir well to thoroughly combine. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the stock. Butter a large, deep baking dish, one that will leave enough stuffing exposed to become crispy but also stay soft underneath. Add the stuffing mix, cover with foil and place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and check that the centre of the stuffing is piping hot. Turn the oven up to 185C and place back in the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes, so that the outside of the stuffing becomes crisp and then serve.