An unexpected yet welcome addition to the vegetarian Sunday dinner table loaded with chestnuts, apples and veggie sausages...
THIS IS A REAL CELEBRATION DISH, PERFECT SERVED WITH A NUT ROAST AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS.
My stance on vegetarian ‘fake meat’ products is fairly pro. I have nothing against the texture of a food group, mushrooms can feel meaty, as can a soy sausage or a Quorn burger. Having grown up at a time when vegetarianism was considered unusual I was often made to feel like I was missing out. School dinners were created especially for me and my brother (the head cook was our lovely neighbour Diane) but they were usually potato based and fatty. Sometimes I just wanted sausage and beans like the other children, and if it’s a veggie sausage that’s affordable, made by an environmentally aware company using sustainable ingredients then I say yes, dig in. Vegetarianism/veganism is a personal journey and it’s up to you to set your own boundaries.
People will have alternate views - a classic line from a carnivore is “If you want something that tastes like meat why not just eat meat?”. Or “What’s wrong with just eating tofu?”. I happen to love tofu, but not at every meal. I object to the unnecessary slaughter of an animal simply for my own satisfaction, this doesn’t mean I hate the unami, savoury flavour of meat.
I created this recipe for veggie stuffing at Christmas when I was looking for something other than Paxo to share the limelight with our nut roast. It’s full of delicious ingredients like chestnuts, apples and sourdough; but the use of Linda Mcartney’s classic veggie sausages really elevate the flavour. It’s suitable for vegans by switching the egg out for VeganEgg or flax seeds. Serve it with your nut roast for something a bit special. Keep the salt low and cut up small for toddlers.
Suitable from one years
- 1 loaf of Sourdough (around 450g)
- 180g Whole Cooked Chestnuts
- 150g Butter (dairy free if vegan)
- 1 large Apple, shredded
- 300g Linda McCartney Sausages (or any you like)
- 1tbs each Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 medium Onions, chopped
- 3 stalks Celery, chopped
- 120 ml 0r ½ Cup White Port or White Wine
- 500ml Vegetable Stock (low salt for toddlers)
- 2 medium Eggs or equivelent vegan egg*
- 2x 2 tbs Olive Oil
- Seasoning, plus optional sprinkle of chilli flakes
*Flax seeds can be used to replace egg, simply use 1 tbs of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbs water and make a paste. Refrigerate this for 15 minutes. TIP: Grind the flax seed before you measure your tbs to ensure the right amount.
- Preheat your oven to 180°c and select a large baking dish, I like ceramic dishes best for this. Butter the dish and set aside.
- Take a large bowl and rip the bread into smallish pieces and leave to one side in the bowl for later.
- Heat 2 tbs oil in a large frying pan and crumble in your chestnuts, cooking them until they begin to crisp up, around 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl containing your bread.
- Next crumble your sausages into the pan, breaking them up further with a wooden spoon as they cook for around 10 minutes. Add them to the bowl.
- Add the remaining 2 tbs oil to the pan and cook your onions and celery on a medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are cooked through and translucent. Next add the apple and chopped herbs. Season and add chilli flakes if using before transferring to the bowl.
- Next deglaze the pan with your wine/port until evaporated or just use some stock if you prefer. Add a third of the butter to the pan and drizzle over the bread mix.
- Whisk your eggs and two-thirds of your stock and pour over all of the ingredients in your bowl. Season again with salt and pepper and stir together, adding more stock as needed until the bread is fully soaked in the liquid. Don’t overlook the bread, hold back any stock you don’t need.
- Pour into your prepared dish and dot with the remaining butter and a large piece of buttered foil. Cook for half an hour before removing the foil and cranking your oven up to 220°c; baking for a further twenty minutes or so until golden and crisp on top.