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Gingerbread Stuffing

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

Sometimes, it makes sense to use one’s obsessions to advantage. I know that most people don’t have trivial light-bulb moments when the notion pops into an already food-filled head to make a stuffing in which crumbled gingerbread cake replaces breadcrumbs, but that’s, unfathomably, how my mind works.

You can use dark brown, dense gingerbread, or the lighter, sandier loaves. I buy spiced bread rather than make it and you will often find it sold, even still in loaf-shape, as ginger cake. It all works. Indeed any sweet, spiced bread, such as pannetone, would.

Sometimes, it makes sense to use one’s obsessions to advantage. I know that most people don’t have trivial light-bulb moments when the notion pops into an already food-filled head to make a stuffing in which crumbled gingerbread cake replaces breadcrumbs, but that’s, unfathomably, how my mind works.

You can use dark brown, dense gingerbread, or the lighter, sandier loaves. I buy spiced bread rather than make it and you will often find it sold, even still in loaf-shape, as ginger cake. It all works. Indeed any sweet, spiced bread, such as pannetone, would.

Gingerbread Stuffing
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8-10

Metric Cups
  • 500 grams onions (3 medium onions)
  • 2 eating apples (approx. 325g / 11oz, peeled and cored)
  • 45 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 750 grams streaky bacon
  • zest of 2 clementines or 1 orange
  • 450 grams good shop-bought gingerbread loaves (such as McVitie's Jamaica) loosely crumbled
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • approx. ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound onions (3 medium onions)
  • 2 eating apples (approx. 325g / 11oz, peeled and cored)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds bacon
  • zest of 2 clementines or 1 orange
  • 5 cups good shop-bought gingerbread loaves (such as McVitie's Jamaica) loosely crumbled
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • approx. ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Using a food processor or by hand, finely chop the onions and apples.
  2. Put the butter and oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat and fry the chopped onions and apples until soft, about 10–15 minutes.
  3. Finely chop the streaky bacon in the processor, or by hand, and add this to the softened onion and apple mixture. Cook everything, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the zest of the clementines/satsumas.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a little before mixing in the gingerbread crumbs. You can let this get properly cold now if you want.
  6. Just before you want to cook the stuffing, add the beaten eggs and pepper, and use it to stuff the cavity of your turkey, or cook all of it (or what’s left after stuffing your bird) in a buttered baking dish. I don’t stuff the bird but put all ofmy stuffing in a very generously buttered old Le Creuset terrine, with internal dimensions of approx. 25cm x 9cm x 7cm deep / 10 x 3½ x 3 inches deep.
  7. Bake it in a hot oven (200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF) with your turkey for about the last 45 minutes. If the stuffing’s going into a full oven – which it no doubt is – there should be no need to cover the dish. If the oven is less full, and therefore hotter and less steamy, you could cover with foil for the first 30 minutes.
  8. Let the cooked stuffing sit in its terrine for a good 10 minutes out of the oven before turning it out and slicing it. Or just spoon from the dish if that’s less stressful. (I love a slice of this, cold, in a Christmas night or Boxing Day turkey sandwich.)
  1. Using a food processor or by hand, finely chop the onions and apples.
  2. Put the butter and oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat and fry the chopped onions and apples until soft, about 10–15 minutes.
  3. Finely chop the bacon in the processor, or by hand, and add this to the softened onion and apple mixture. Cook everything, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the zest of the clementines/satsumas.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a little before mixing in the gingerbread crumbs. You can let this get properly cold now if you want.
  6. Just before you want to cook the stuffing, add the beaten eggs and pepper, and use it to stuff the cavity of your turkey, or cook all of it (or what’s left after stuffing your bird) in a buttered baking dish. I don’t stuff the bird but put all ofmy stuffing in a very generously buttered old Le Creuset terrine, with internal dimensions of approx. 25cm x 9cm x 7cm deep / 10 x 3½ x 3 inches deep.
  7. Bake it in a hot oven (200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF) with your turkey for about the last 45 minutes. If the stuffing’s going into a full oven – which it no doubt is – there should be no need to cover the dish. If the oven is less full, and therefore hotter and less steamy, you could cover with foil for the first 30 minutes.
  8. Let the cooked stuffing sit in its terrine for a good 10 minutes out of the oven before turning it out and slicing it. Or just spoon from the dish if that’s less stressful. (I love a slice of this, cold, in a Christmas night or Boxing Day turkey sandwich.)

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Make the stuffing, leave to cool completely then beat in the eggs and pepper. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Make the stuffing, with the eggs and pepper, and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Make the stuffing, leave to cool completely then beat in the eggs and pepper. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Make the stuffing, with the eggs and pepper, and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Tell us what you think

What 7 Others have said

  • I have made this gingerbread stuffing for the past 3 or 4 years, it is amazing, the whole family loves it! It is also very nice cold, sliced with your cold cuts and chutneys etc the rest of Christmas week.

    Posted by Lemsip66 on 20th December 2013
  • Oh my goodness, SO delicious!! I'll definitely be making this one again! :)

    Posted by Heddie83 on 24th November 2013
  • Wicked wickedly good! All guests loved it. This will be my stuffing of choice!

    Posted by gustah10 on 25th December 2012
  • Wicked. The best stuffing ever I had. Xmas dinners guest had three stuffings only this one was finished. I have to make more. Thank you Nigella.

    Posted by gustah10 on 27th December 2012
  • After first eating, this became a non-negotiable part of our family Christmas lunch. I dread to think of the moans should I ever omit it from the menu! Even those who say they don't like gingerbread or cake love this.

    Posted by Sandyann64 on 12th December 2012
  • I SAW THIS RECIPE ON TV NIGELLA SHOW ON FOX LIFE AND REALLY REALLY LOVE IT THANK GOODNESS YOU GOT THIS WEBSITE SO WE CAN GET THIS RECIPES THANK YOU NIGELLA YOU ARE WONDERFUL

    Posted by SUSANAREYES on 13th December 2012
  • I am making this dish for Christmas this year. I am having great difficulty in finding the gingerbread cake - I am going to make Nigella's gingerbread muffins and use these instead. Hopefully it will turn out moist still. Looking forward to having this on my Xmas table this year.

    Posted by julzmac72 on 21st December 2011
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