An easy chicken stuffing recipe is a must in every cook's repertoire. This one has sausages and herbs for maximum flavour.
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Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm x 33cm baking dish.
Place half the bread in a food processor and process until coarse breadcrumbs form. Transfer to a large rimmed baking tray. Repeat with remaining bread and place in another baking tray. Spray with oil spray and toss to coat. Bake, stirring occasionally for 10-15 mins or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium medium-high heat. Add the sausage, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 6-8 mins or until onion is soft. Stir in pine nuts, thyme, parsley, lemon rind and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to combine.
Whisk the butter, stock and eggs in a medium bowl. Add to the breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 mins or until stuffing is heated through and golden and crisp on top. Set aside for 10 mins before serving.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Use it up: You’ll have leftover herbs from this sausage stuffing recipe. Add thyme to this leek and thyme potato bake and parsley to a parsley pesto to serve with potatoes or toss through pasta.
Clever storage: Pine nuts can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months. They can go rancid so watch out for an unpleasant odour and bitter taste.
How do you take a roast chicken to the next level? Add a stuffing, of course. In Australia, stuffing has traditionally been cooked inside the chicken cavity – people love it because it adds delicious flavour and texture, and as the meat cooks, the juices from the chicken soak into the bread, binding all those beautiful flavours together. There are some challenges with stuffing chicken though – the stuffing has to be cooked to just the right temperature to ensure there’s no food safety risk. But we’ve got the answer for that: a chicken stuffing recipe that’s cooked in a separate baking dish. It has all the wonderful flavours you’re used to – pork, sausages, garlic, herbs – but it’s much easier to cook, and makes the perfect side dish for a roast chicken.
Bread is the starting point of most stuffing recipes, although you can also use ingredients like couscous as your base. If you’re using bread in your roast chicken stuffing, look for something like sourdough or pane di casa. These types of bread have a firmer texture so they hold their shape once the other ingredients are added. A sandwich-style loaf will become too soggy when the stock is added, so steer clear of that when making stuffing for chicken.
In almost every recipe for stuffing for roast chicken, you’ll see the bread needs to be day old (or stale). Slightly stale bread holds its shape better, plus we’re going for a crunchy texture in this homemade stuffing. When you’re turning your bread into breadcrumbs, only give it a quick pulse in the food processor, too – you want coarse breadcrumbs. If it’s too fine, your sausage stuffing will look more like a cake than a stuffing.
There’s no definitive answer to ‘what is chicken stuffing made of?’ Our homemade stuffing for chicken uses pork sausage, pine nuts, parsley and thyme for a rich flavour. We’ve also added a little lemon rind for zesty freshness. If you want though, mix up the flavours. For something a little more festive you could go for a cranberry and sage stuffing or try Curtis Stone’s herb-parmesan stuffing, which is also baked separately.
There isn’t a lot that can go wrong here – just don’t be tempted to cut corners. You need to bake the bread in the oven at the start so it gets that lovely crustiness and turns a golden colour. That’s what makes the finished dish look so good. When you’re ready to combine your ingredients, give them a really good stir so they’re well coated – you want to guarantee maximum flavour in every bite. And finally, when you pour the mix into the baking dish, it’s OK if some of the mix sits up above the liquid level. These bits will become extra crunchy and delicious. If the stuffing is starting to overbrown, however, cover it with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
Fitting everything in the oven is always a challenge so you have a couple of options here. You can cook your stuffing in the oven before you roast the chicken. Most chickens need 10-15 minutes resting time, so while the chicken is resting, pop the stuffing back in the oven to reheat.
Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to have a spacious oven, cook the chook on the centre tray of the oven. Place the stuffing on the bottom tray of the oven. Because the chicken will need to rest, calculate when to put your stuffing in the oven based on bringing it out at the end of the chicken’s resting time. When you remove the chicken from the oven, move the stuffing up to the middle of the oven for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking time.